The Right To Avoid Competition

“Equality” will always be a stalking-horse. It is only attractive viewed from below. No one – no man, no woman, no intersexual and no small furry thing from Alpha Centauri – truly wants “equality” except provisionally, while they themselves are busy getting out from underneath.

What people want after equality is privilege; that is, we want to climb the ladder and then kick it away behind us. Competition on an equal basis is a reasonable initial demand only for those initially barred from competing at all, but once entry into the lists has been gained, the next goal must be competition on an unequal basis. We wish to compete against but not to be competed with. (This can be seen most clearly in business, where would-be entrants to a industry call for free competition, but once established buy a politician to restrict it again. The businessman thinks the role of the government should be to get out of his way and into someone else’s.)

We call for fair competition, therefore, only until we get to put the fix in. Free and fair competition means that we might lose, and that is not at all desirable. Equality means that we are held equally responsible, and that is even worse.

The early feminists talked about competing on an equal and fair basis with men and reaping equal rewards for equal merit. But “Fair competition” is actually masculine thinking, rooted in the fraternal training games of the primitive war-band; women compete, not to play but to win.

These early feminists even went so far as to accept that the logical corollary of equal credit for equal merit or achievements was equal blame for equal failures or offences. For example, Propositions VII and IX of the French revolutionary Olympe de Gouges’ The Rights of Woman and Citizens (1791) stated that: “Women obey the rigours of the law as men do” and “Any woman found guilty will be dealt with in the full rigour of the law.” The masculine thinking here was no doubt that equality had to be seen to work both ways, and that the alternative to women’s equality under the law was their wardship to their male relatives; either a woman was property, or she was a citizen. In fact, however, there is a third alternative – to be an equal citizen when you want something, and a helpless victim when someone wants something from you.

Similarly, these mistaken pioneers spoke of “taking responsibility for their own lives”. If responsibility for your own life meant escaping from someone else’s control and doing what you want, well and good: but if it meant standing to account for your own actions, then it can and should be avoided. For the acceptance of equal responsibility for equal failures or equal blame for equal vices only makes sense in the light of two regrettable situations: either infection by quixotic male concepts of honour, or sheer ignorance of how blame and responsibility can in fact be avoided. Explanations are available that unequivocally place the responsibility for all human ills where it belongs, namely with men. A new language can, indeed, be learnt and spoken in which there are words only for the wrongs done to you, not the wrongs done by you.

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