[ExI] The Circle of Coercion

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon May 11 05:07:15 UTC 2009

Dan wrote (5/7/2009 2:46pm)

 > Regarding how reform should be attempted within the
 > present system, I disagree that perpetuating or
 > expanding the system is the correct approach.

Yes indeed. And I commend you also for pointing out
that we can only hope to move towards eventual positions
that appeal to us, and ought not outright advocate those
eventual positions.

 > I think as libertarian ideas slowly spread, we will
 > slowly evolve away from the coercive system.

Why are you optimistic? What can you point to in the
last thirty or forty years that gives ground for
optimism? In fact, right here on this list, we see
a great, increasing, and ongoing retrenchment away
from libertarian ideas and ideals. (It's worse year
by year.)

 > A more radical approach is not likely to
 > succeed simply because most people don't
 > understand libertarian principles

That's some of it all right. But also not to be
underestimated is the feeling that most people
have that one way or the other, their own value
systems must triumph, no matter what it takes
(e.g. coercion of some kind or other).

A classic example is the "progressive" view here
in the United States concerning the Supreme Court.
Before 1920 or 1930, the progressives were all in
favor of weakening the court---but this was merely,
it turned out, because the court did not tend at
the time to favor their policies. Ever since, it's
been the legislatures that progressives want to
weaken, and the courts to be strengthened---again,
merely because of the transient fact that current
legislatures are opposed to their agenda.

As is so often the case, there is no principle in
operation here. Only expediency. So far as I can tell,
expediency has been uniformly increasing in the U.S.
at the expense of principle for about one hundred
and fifty years.


 > -- even if they default to practicing them successfully
 > in most of their lives (i.e., most people do not
 > initiate force in most cases to get what they want
 > and live their lives) -- and lack imagination to see
 > how a non-command system will work.

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