The thesis for the “5” series of posts is to meditate on coercion, its prevalence, its unjustifiability, the costs (which may be split between the coercer and the coerced), the value of liberty, the foundation of liberty in property rights, and the reasonability of the anarcho-capitalist framework.
We will inch our way into this. But one of the justifications for inching is our familiarity with conditions of coercion. We (who do I refer to? Anyone.) are so saturated with coercion that we accidentally take much of it as acceptable. One of the first steps in making progress is to realize where there is lack. An appeal to the sage Jesus.
When the sage Jesus, in his famous Mount Sermon, represents to his disciples (or at least so they claimed to be (even he said that the real disciple was he who obeyed)) the path to blessedness he begins with…poverty of spirit…lack. Next, their is deep appreciation of the significance of the lack…mourning…sorrow. From those initial points is the groundwork of progress made.
Hundreds of years earlier the sage Socrates had wandered around Athens engaging in dialogue with the willing (he never coerced) that often resulted in the dialogic partner being confronted with the hole in his soul. You can see this in Plato’s dialogues. It was a terrifying thing to engage with the sage Socrates. The sage Socrates took it as his central philosophical mission to examine the self or others for the reality of wisdom wherever its appearance was put forward. In most cases what he found was lack, merely the pretense to wisdom. Woe to the pretender.
In earthly matters one of the holes or lacks is the inability of adults to solve problems or disagreements without the use of coercion. It is widespread. It is pervasive. So, as we move forward elaborating the evil, it will benefit our consideration to understand the saturation point.
Think of the person who thinks all is well vs. the person who thinks that evil is all around. The two may be in the same environment, but both cannot be right. It is the Puritanical Libertarian’s claim that coercion is all around. It is not the Puritanical Libertarian’s claim that he knows how to rid the world of coercion. He is a simple man. His efforts are mainly focused on no coercion in his immediate relations. He even thinks there are ways in which the better self can engage the worse self in the same body without coercion. But this is mysterious.
What follows is an initial analogy to locate coercion. What comes next will be an extension of all-pervasiveness.
Murder involves the coercion of an otherwise minding-his-own business individual. Wrong.
Assault involves the coercion of an otherwise minding-his-own business individual. Wrong.
Theft involves the coercion of an otherwise minind-his-own business individual. Wrong.
Enslavement involves the coercion of an otherwise minding-his-own business individual. Wrong.
Taxation by government involves the coercion of an otherwise minding-his-own business individual. ?
Military conscription involves the coercion of an otherwise minding-his-own business individual. ?
Forcing two otherwise-minding-their-own business individuals engaged in production and trade to trade at this or that price demanded by the uninvited third party of government? This could be the price of labor such as a minimum wage or could be the price of a commodity such as oil.
Printing fiat currency to dilute the savings of those otherwise-minding-their-own business but forced to use that currency as a store of value?
Picking winners and losers among the population by taking from some and giving to others in trade for political loyalty or other gifts is of course loved by those who are on the gifted end (whether individual or collective like business) but of course unwanted by those who are coerced and otherwise minding their own business. ?
The immediate cry by frustrated? How could it be any other way? The answer. Find your nearest married for life couple. Meditate on how they made promises (contracts), kept them faithfully, and note the absence of any intrinsic coercion or any third-party coercion. If you want a real shocker go to the tables of comparison that show the on average prosperity of those who contract and keep promises (the married) versus those who do not. You will find a spring of life and prosperity in those who voluntarily make promises and keep them, both freely.
What a shame that the thuggish coercive branch saddles those with the burden of caring for those who freely refuse to freely make or keep such contracts (such as marriage).
More soon. For now, why is the coercion of murder, theft, assault, slavery so intuitively wrong while the coercion of taxation, minimum wage, price setting, redistributive picking of winners and losers so acceptable? The same thing is wrong in both. Targeting those minding their own business for forced taking, threats.