Why do humans kill each other? Our own species after all.

We are animals, of course, and if we look at other animals and examine in what cases a species will resort to killing its fellows, we see one thing: Competition. Competition, we say, can cull the herd, and it adds strength to the species. We humans compete in various ways and in extremis, we kill.

That makes us no different than other animals. In fact, we celebrate competition in our holidays. Only New Year’s stands devoid of references to war, conflict, competition. Competition surrounds us.

How important is competition to the progressive betterment of our species? Some say that how competition embeds itself within society has a great deal to say about how the human race will evolve within that society. In other words, capitalism fosters competition; whereas systems that distribute wealth to need rather than merit, such systems foster degradation. The extremes of either are dysfunctional.

What is ‘healthy’ competition and how can a society base itself upon it? Competition needs rules, even though the most clever will figure out a way around the rules, just as the squirrels in my yard continually fool me and are able to get at the bird feeder. Humans are more clever than squirrels.

Who makes the rules? Should religion make the rules? Religions do make rules, but do they belong in government? Most reasonable people will say no, though there are still people fighting and dying because of that belief.

Governments make rules. The rules cannot stifle competition, but they cannot totally unbridle competition or else we will have a government walking hand in hand with the largest corporations. That is called fascism.

Governments and corporations have the most money. Democracies are supposed to control the government through free elections. Competitiveness in elections is defamed through large amounts of money channeled through the rich and large corporations.

We could counteract that by having Congress only allow public financing of elections. We could also help to control it by Congress specifically saying that corporations are not people, collections of people who have freedom of speech in elections. Neither of these will happen.

Calvin Coolidge memorably said, “The business of America is business.” Certainly we hear all the time that government should be run like business. Colleges are now run like businesses, and the college presidents are highly paid, mostly for fund-raising, turning colleges in a sort of business for profit, and this ideal affects college students: The students are all in debt just like poorly-run businesses. But didn’t business get us into the trouble we now have?

In one sentence, what can we do? How about insisting on full disclosure? If we had full disclosure in our politics and in our financial instruments, our system could fully use its competitive spirit. Full disclosure puts a necessary damper on the process to keep it from the extremes. Political ads would have to show the source and also refer to a website of the organization which is paying for the ads, or at least to whomever is paying the bills.

The same is true of corporations, no matter what type, the members of the corporations become a matter of public record. Any false political ads could be subject to liable, and the source of that liable would be readily apparent. Emails must be traceable.

In competing, what does America do best? What we do best is not competing with people who are copying our methods, improving upon them, and selling items back to us. That was Japan not a long time ago. Now it’s China. What we do best is play a new game altogether and advance before the rest of the world really realizes what is going on.

What we do best is innovation, also humans rights, and specifically women’s rights, though we still have big problems, but comparably fewer than elsewhere. We have immigration — the importation of brains and motivation — overcoming decadence that naturally accompanies success. We are special.

We do not know our capabilities. We put our schools down, and especially the students, but we cannot see the strengths that our young people will have for a new economy, because that is in the future. We do not know the future.

What worked in the past, what was successful in the past, what combination of schooling worked very well in the past, all that is very nice, but we are just on the cusp of true change. It is not a time to reactively go backward, to cherish old idols and beliefs. We need to tend the garden of ideas, and their development.

Basically, let America do its thing, and we can insist on full disclosure. If disclosure is full and open — in so many venues — then the American machine will have a mechanism to right itself as it chugs along. If Occupy Wall Street wants to push for something, full disclosure is easily marketed to the people, and the people will listen, but the people have to put the pressure on the politicians. And why should we not have full disclosure? Give me one good reason.

So believe in America. America can do it, but I believe it wrong if we think we need to compete with China to do better what they are now doing. We don’t need to compete, because we do not have to play that game. New paradigms will shape America’s future. If you do not believe that, then perhaps you might be happier elsewhere. May I suggest Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Trinidad, Cuba. Have a safe trip.

One last thing. What should we celebrate? Personally, I am sick and tired of the old holidays and how they celebrate death in so many ways. How about figuring out how to celebrate innovation? Innovation has made us great.