8 Legitimising Coercion

“The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.”

David Friedman

Not many of us give much though to coercion and how much it pervades our society. In this chapter the consequences of legitimizing coercion at the top are aired. We see that the destruction meted out to humanity as a result of those in the employ of government or wanna-be-governments can often, within a few months, exceed all of the “private sector” murders, rapes, mutilations and abductions of recorded history. And most gun-toting unlicensed criminals are likely to have received their initial training in uniform.

A gripping example of the power of coercion is set out for the reader wherein it becomes apparent that absolute and unyielding unwillingness to pay a humble parking ticket would ultimately and inevitably lead to one’s death. It is this power of coercion that underlies every law and regulation passed by the state.

We see how setting the example of coercion at the top imprints many of us with the notion that coercive techniques are alright when special interests, including that of the “public good,” are at stake. Unfortunately, lots of us have different ideas about what constitutes the public good and just who the public are.

Waste, corruption and inefficiency on many levels continually permeate state and state-related activities – what does this tell us about the mechanism they are using? We see how coercion in the system breaks the feedback loop between supplier and receiver. We have only to look into history to see the end-result of all coercively managed economies and empires: collapse and decline.

Greg's posts on this

Strangled for selling single cigarettes, allegedly

Eric Garner was killed by NY police who suspected him of selling “loosies” on the street – cigarettes sold singly, not in packs. The policeman who choked him to death was acquitted of any wrongdoing, triggering mass protests across America.