Coercion doesn’t work because it means using force. As Isaac Newton told us, any force creates an equal and opposite reaction. People who are coerced resist in ways small and large, conscious and unconscious, carefully planned and quite impulsive. For coercion to have it’s ostesible intended effect, it must be applied continuously, with all the cost that entails. Not only applied at the same level, but at greater and greater intensity, as people resist more and more. So coercion creates, minimally, equivalent escalating resistance. All the side effects of the coercers’ efforts, and all the side effects of all the resistance those efforts fuel can much more properly be laid at the coercers’ doorstep, not the resistors’.
I leave it to the readers to decide which minority subsets of coercion are NOT oppression. I think there is greater and greater agreement that the global prohibitions of hazily defined recreationally effective molecules engendered by Americans’ sweeping puritan moral panics in the sixties (cynically engineered for political ends leveraging racism for those ends), is not and will never work, and has come at a vomituous ethical cost.
Written in the midst of re-reading “Thinking in Systems: A Primer” by Donella H Meadows, which is excellent. This blurb, however, is the product of me, not the book, per se. Just wanted ot let you know Thinking in Systems is awesome!
What are your opinions on what is or is not coercion, or what forms are or are not ethical and why? Leave a comment below.