One strategy used by statists is to dissociate two aspects of the same process, and pit them one against the others, in a conceptual game of “divide and conquer.” Give one a negative connotation, and claim you are a paragon of the other, set them as opposites, and hide the real situation.
The paradigmatic example of this strategy is the left-right false dichotomy. The statists set the left and the right as the only two options, when they are in fact two aspects of the same process: the left being a form of horizontal collectivism, and the right a form of vertical collectivism, as I have discussed extensively on this blog.
The politicians on each side portray the other as villains, and portray themselves as saviors of an embattled populace. By doing so, they hide the fact that the right and the left are merely dual manifestations of the democratic ruling class and its expansionary interests. They complete each other like two participants in a game of leapfrog, always advancing the whole machine of the State forward; when one side loses popular favor, it bows down and allows the other to capture more power than ever before, as they needle the people for more power in order to retaliate against the now unpopular ideas.
A better dichotomy would be based on not what kind of collectivism one should support, but rather whether one supports collectivism at all, or rather supports some form of individualism (such as Market Anarchy). But even better would be to ask whether one supports coercion in order to achieve any form of organization, or whether one is against coercion. That is the only really relevant issue, from the perspective of Market Anarchist theory. To be a Market Anarchist is to answer the latter; it’s as simple as that.
Another good example is competition and cooperation. In reality, these are merely two sides of the same coin. On the market, agents can only compete to the extent that they cooperate, and vice-versa; not only within a business or venture, but also between competitors. It is impossible to have one without the other.
Statists like to pretend that they support “cooperation over competition,” that “competition” is a nasty dog-eat-dog process, and that “cooperation” is compassionate and gentle. In fact, what they advocate is widespread coercion in order to suppress all possible competitors to the all-powerful State and its friends. If we examine this process further, we find that in this widespread coercion there is both a form of distorted competition- the ruling class crushes private competitors with the force of the law- and of cooperation- between members of the ruling class. Even war has both competitive and cooperative elements, albeit even more distorted.
Once again, the real dichotomy is between coercion and voluntaryism. There is voluntary competition/cooperation (on the market) and coercive competition/cooperation (in statism), and this attribute makes them either desirable or undesirable.
Populism and elitism suffer from the same kind of statist distortion. Statists generally like to claim that they are populists, working “for the people,” and ruling “in the name of the people.” They gloat of their “safety nets” and enthrone themselves as saviors of “the people,” as noble populists fighting against the apparatus of a power elite, when they themselves detain all the power.
But populism and elitism are two sides of the same coin. The best way to see this is to look at the effects of statism. It would be difficult to find an ideology more contrary to populism and elitism than democracy. Democracy concentrates power over the masses into a sprawling ruling class (anti-populism), and establishes that ruling class by a vulgar process based on popularity (anti-elitism). Democracy demonstrably does not help neither the most destitute in our society, nor does it help the most meritorious. The only people the ruling class helps are either those powerful enough to be of service, or those servile enough to help justify its actions.
The Market Anarchist process, on the other hand, can be said to be both populist and elitist. Populist because it gives power over their own lives to everyone in a society, and elitist because it gives the opportunity to the most meritorious to rise to the top, as established by consumer demand. Thus we should observe both a greater equality, as well as a natural aristocracy, in such a system. And indeed, the Market Anarchist systems we can observe right now, or those from history, do show such a pattern very strongly.
Once again, it is whether we have a voluntaryist or coercive system that makes all the difference, not the statists’ false dichotomies. Anything that respects individual free will yields the fruits of concerted effort going towards worthy goals. Anything that goes against individual free will yields the heavy cost of conflict and efforts redirected towards evil goals.
This principle can be applied to any other statist false dichotomy, such as “capitalism v socialism,” “public v private” (and the same dichotomy as applied to any specific area), “egoism v altruism,” “order v chaos,” “law v crime,” and so on and so forth.