Eliminating Coercion

David A Musick (davidmusick@juno.com)
Tue, 20 Jan 1998 12:29:33 -0500

Dan Fabulich wrote:

"Actually, your "semi-mutual agreements" sound an awful lot like coercion
to me. I reason that if gov't exchanges were genuinely mutual, then any
private citizen could run a state based on mutual agreements. However,
much of the time they are not mutual; by definition, exchanges which are
not mutually agreed upon by all participants are coercive.

I don't seek to make "semi-mutual agreements" more beneficial; rather I
seek to eliminate coercion through Intelligent Technology."

You are right. The "semi-mutual agreements" that people currently live
under are forms of coercion. And yet these agreements have come about by
choice; maybe not on the part of the ones being coerced, but certainly on
the part of the ones coercing (unless they are being coerced to coerce).
And if we really want to end coercion in all forms of human interaction,
then we need to understand why so many millions of individuals so
willingly choose to be coercive. And keep in mind that coercion goes
beyond government; it happens in families, and it happens on the
playground, and it happens in many other places as well. Many millions
of people like to boss other people around. Why?

We all like to get our way, but many people like to coerce others into
helping them get their way. And some people just like the feeling of
power they get from having others obey them. Coercion is a very
widespread phenomenon, and it is a very deep and ingrained part of human
interaction. It isn't going to be easy to eliminate it. Getting rid of
governments won't do it; governments are only the products of a coercive
society; the problem is not "government", but the coercive nature of the
society which created and supports government. It's *individual people*,
working together to force their will on those who won't go along
willingly, that creates government. *Individuals* are coercive, and they
form coercive groups. But to eliminate coercion, coercive individuals
must be taught to be non-coercive, and this may take a lot of
psychotherapy, or something similar. If we just eliminate coercive
organizations, like government, coercive individuals will just form other
coercive organizations. If we're going to stop coercion we must stop it
at it's source; individuals.

Any ideas how to practically do this? Self help books? (_Controlling
Coercion_: How Coercive Behavior is Self-Defeating)? Lots of Internet
sites on the subject, with lots of information on how to eliminate
coercive behavior in oneself? TV documentaries? Popularizing discussion
of coercion?

David Musick (DavidMusick@juno.com)

- Continual improvement is the highest good.