Monday, July 2, 2012

Excellent Discussion of Coercion in the Private Sphere

Crooked Timber has an excellent discussion of libertarianism and coercion in the private sphere. I find the section contrasting how libertarians discuss union coercion vs. employer coercion particularly interesting. I recommend everyone take a moment to read over the post for a good overview of the topic, though it is rather lengthy.

(Of course, this viewpoint is inconsistent with any philosophy wishing for a cessation of coercion, since the state used as a check is necessarily coercive. But I think it is undeniable that people experience coercion even when engaging in free contract, trying to define coercion differently doesn't remove the reality of the experience. It simply allows for an internally consistent, coherent philosophy, something which I believe comes at the expense of dealing with reality and with making a philosophy relevant to policy discussions.)

1 comment:

  1. Libertarianism, like what labels itself conservatism today, and like liberalism (especially in the late 1960s, although the view hasn't died out), succeeds by carefully defining terms so that its assumptions are "proven." The proofs offered are unconvincing to others precisely because the meaning of the terms is not agreed.

    Is "coercion" something that only happens when government (or unions) are involved? Then government is coercive, and a threat to freedom. QED.

    Is America threatened by socialism? Sure, if you define "socialism" as anything that you don't like. OR anything that you used to like, but that has now been done by someone you don't like. QED

    Is America a threat to world peace? If you define anything that you don't like in the world as necessarily the result of something that America did, then of course it is. QED.

    Circular reasoning -- the perfect tool for any and every philosophy which cannot stand on its own merits.