Cooperation is the free association of men who work together by voluntary
agreement, each deriving from it his own personal benefit.
A proper association is united by ideas, not by men, and its members are loyal
to the ideas, not to the group. It is eminently reasonable that men should seek
to associate with those who share their convictions and values. It is
impossible to deal or even to communicate with men whose ideas are
fundamentally opposed to one’s own (and one should be free not to deal with
them). All proper associations are formed or joined by individual choice and on
conscious, intellectual grounds (philosophical, political, professional,
etc.)—not by the physiological or geographical accident of birth, and not on
the ground of tradition. When men are united by ideas, i.e., by explicit
principles, there is no room for favors, whims, or arbitrary power: the
principles serve as an objective criterion for determining actions and for
judging men, whether leaders or members. This requires a high degree of
conceptual development and independence . . . . But this is the only way men
can work together justly, benevolently and safely.
The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or
associations. Any group that does not recognize this principle is not an
association, but a gang or a mob.