Conscience & The State

39. Do not suppose that cooperation and competition are antithetical or opposite. Rather cooperation as learned from the good mother is the base foundation for all economic interaction. To wrong one’s trading partner, to hoard at the expense of others or at the expense of the exchange system itself, are each violations of the good mother’s originary example of cooperation. The good mother's example is a check on competition so that it does not begin to resemble some Hobbesian world of individuals in constant war with one another. The good mother’s example of cooperation allows mutual benefits to be maintained between trading parties in the absence of codified laws and regulation.

45. It is the good mother who develops and encourages conscience in the child. Conscience is cooperation embodied. He learns to feel his violation of cooperation and altruism physically. His conscience warns him with the racing of his heart, the sweatiness of his palms, the sinking feeling in his stomach.

48. Cooperation, altruism and the gift resist systematic codification in law. Indeed, the growth of the State and the expansion of regulation and law may be seen as a further factor undermining the institution of good motherhood. The State’s prohibitions are appealed to as a guide to economic interaction rather than conscience as developed by the good mother. The State, rather than the conscience of individual men, becomes the sole caretaker of the economic system, and any activity in accord with the State’s regulation is understood to be legal and just. Loopholes and other systematic abuse is legal and therefore acceptable. The State, rather than the conscience of individual men, is the arbiter of acceptable conduct.

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