A Few Thoughts on Indiana and Coercion

 

imageConservatives are allergic to government coercion. This allergy informs all of our positions on public policy. It informs out position on religious freedom. The reason liberals can’t tell the difference between the promotion of liberty and promotion of “hate” all comes down to our differing views of coercion. For conservatives, political coercion is the original sin of authoritarian governments. For liberals, it is the glue that binds their entire moral identity.

Consider two pillars of the progressive left: Social Security and Obamacare. Would either of these programs survive even a month if they weren’t compulsory? Would any liberal program survive? And if this kind of coercion represents a social good, then it would not seem at all unethical to force a business owner into an involuntary transaction. Once you cross that line, “hate” is the only logical explanation for opposing their policies.

(Incidentally, I used to allowed for the possibility that the charge of “hate” is just an attempt to shut down debate by casting conservatives as unreasonable, but I have talked to enough liberals to know that they actually believe this stuff).

This is how a group of people convinces themselves that a law that allows free choice on all sides is like Jim Crow, but a law that limits choice and compels involuntary transactions is the opposite of Jim Crow. What is consistent then and now, is that the same party is pushing the coercion.

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  1. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Conservatives are allergic to government coercion? Like since when?

    • #1
  2. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Fred Cole:Conservatives are allergic to government coercion?Like since when?

    Depends on what the coercion is for I suppose.

    • #2
  3. True_wesT Member
    True_wesT
    @TruewesT

    Conservatism is not coercive. Certain Republicans can be very coercive.

    • #3
  4. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Look, I don’t want to be a
    Jerk here, but plenty of conservatives, especially here on Ricochet, are perfectly okay with government coercion.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @SaintAugustine

    True_wesT:

    This is how a group of people convinces themselves that a law that allows free choice on all sides is like Jim Crow, but a law that limits choice and compels involuntary transactions is the opposite of Jim Crow. What is consistent then and now, is that the same party is pushing the coercion.

    Yeah.  On the left, the only freedom is the freedom to not be offended.

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Fred Cole

    Look, I don’t want to be a
    Jerk here, but plenty of conservatives, especially here on Ricochet, are perfectly okay with government coercion.

    Only because you won’t behave otherwise, Fred.

    But seriously, you’ve hit on something here in that all lefty governance comes down to “that which is not forbidden is compulsory.” I love the term and am coming to understand it more each day.

    • #6
  7. True_wesT Member
    True_wesT
    @TruewesT

    It’s difficult to respond without specific examples, but if a conservative is okay with coercion, then can they be called a conservative? “Conservatism” as an ideology is not coercive. Liberalism can’t function without coercion; all that moral vanity, which has the effect of putting us on the defensive, has an authoritarian price tag. Every last bit of it.

    • #7
  8. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Fred Cole:Look, I don’t want to be a Jerk here, but plenty of conservatives, especially here on Ricochet, are perfectly okay with government coercion.

    You mean conservatives are imperfect!? WHAT!? :)  Ultimately I think we’re talking principle vs practice. As conservatives we tend to react to coercive force differently than liberals. Doesn’t mean it isn’t used, and it definitely doesn’t mean people won’t be for it if it’s their hobby horse. Still, we’ll at least argue about whether something should be coerced via government because we think it’s a good thing instead of just declaring it a “collective good” from the get go and plowing on ahead.

    • #8
  9. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I think that Fred is responding to the Libertarian/conservative divide. Conservatives are much more willing to favor government coercion than Libertarians. However, I think that Fred would agree that in general left of center ideologies are much more comfortable with government coercion than right of center ideologies.

    • #9
  10. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    I know people who call themselves conservative, but don’t seem to really have strong convictions when it comes to how that would impact their lives.  Sunshine conservatives.

    • #10
  11. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Some conservatives (myself included) may want to forbid things (drug laws come to mind).  Here we are talking about the government saying: you must do x (buy healthcare, use our semi-retirement plan, etc.).  What is an example of a policy held by conservatives that says, you must do x?

    • #11
  12. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    This Indiana RFRA thing bothers me greatly. What it tells me is that for a large number of people in the US now, freedom of religion is secondary to hurt feelings.

    • #12
  13. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Fred has a very high “coercion” meter.  Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive.  And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example.  If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    The definition of marriage is an especially elegant way to keep in place the understanding that two sexes are good and necessary, that parents have responsibilities to each other and the children they bring into the world, and that family is a bulwark against government WITHOUT coercion.  It is a way to assure more freedom for more people no matter what anyone will tell you about removing children from what we understand marriage to be.  Not that all married couples had children, but it was understood that marriage incorporated any children born to the couple into a family, and that children had the right, whenever possible, to know and be raised by the people who created them.  Not so with redefined marriage.

    • #13
  14. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    True_wesT:It’s difficult to respond without specific examples, but if a conservative is okay with coercion, then can they be called a conservative? “Conservatism” as an ideology is not coercive. Liberalism can’t function without coercion; all that moral vanity, which has the effect of putting us on the defensive, has an authoritarian price tag. Every last bit of it.

    Look, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think you’re confusing conservatism with libertarianism.

    • #14
  15. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Rick B.:Some conservatives (myself included) may want to forbid things (drug laws come to mind). Here we are talking about the government saying: you must do x (buy healthcare, use our semi-retirement plan, etc.). What is an example of a policy held by conservatives that says, you must do x?

    I can easily think of an example of a policy (many actually, but one easily springs to mind) of a coercive policy supported by conservatives (including most of the conservatives here at Ricochet), and generally opposed by “liberals” that says “You must do X.”

    • #15
  16. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Z in MT:I think that Fred is responding to the Libertarian/conservative divide. Conservatives are much more willing to favor government coercion than Libertarians. However, I think that Fred would agree that in general left of center ideologies are much more comfortable with government coercion than right of center ideologies.

    I wouldn’t.

    Look, no disrespect to any conservatives here, but the above quoted (and most of the rest of this thread) is full of that fiction that conservatives convince themselves of.

    The fact of that matter is that “liberals” want coercion for some things and conservatives want it for other things (and very often the two overlap).

    • #16
  17. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Merina Smith:Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive. And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example. If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    Again, no disrespect to my conservative friends, but this is an example of how conservatives twist themselves into knots to convince themselves that they don’t favor coercion.  (Its also how they twist themselves into knots justifying things that are unconstitutional, but that’s a different conversation.)

    • #17
  18. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Merina Smith: Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive.

    These two sentences require a specific and special attention.

    You’re [expletive] right that I have a very high “‘coercion’ meter.”  That’s because I believe that words mean things.  (Which, nfn, conservatives used to believe in).  So, “coercion” means coercion.

    Also, “without being very restrictive”?  Excuse me?

    You get the half the prison population in the US is behind bars for drug offenses, right?  Is that “without being very restrictive” to you?

    • #18
  19. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Fred Cole:

    Merina Smith:Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive. And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example. If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    Again, no disrespect to my conservative friends, but this is an example of how conservatives twist themselves into knots to convince themselves that they don’t favor coercion. (Its also how they twist themselves into knots justifying things that are unconstitutional, but that’s a different conversation.)

    Fred, unless you live in a cabin in the woods of, well, probably no place on earth so some other planet, you will live in society and there will be laws and that will be “coercion”.  The kind of freedom you think you want does not exist even in the remotest tribe.  Conservatives have a concept of allowing the most freedom possible within society.  The founders did that. They understood it.

    • #19
  20. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Merina Smith:Fred, unless you live in a cabin in the woods of, well, probably no place on earth so some other planet, you will live in society and there will be laws and that will be “coercion”. The kind of freedom you think you want does not exist even in the remotest tribe. Conservatives have a concept of allowing the most freedom possible within society. The founders did that. They understood it.

    I’m perfectly okay with cops keeping public order.

    But that’s not that kind of coercion we’re talking about, is it?

    • #20
  21. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    When these laws are taken away, every Native American truck driver is getting fired.

    The liberals and media folk who haven’t read these laws don’t know it yet.

    I can’t wait until they find out.

    • #21
  22. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Merina Smith:Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive. And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example. If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    The definition of marriage is an especially elegant way to keep in place the understanding that two sexes are good and necessary, that parents have responsibilities to each other and the children they bring into the world, and that family is a bulwark against government WITHOUT coercion. It is a way to assure more freedom for more people no matter what anyone will tell you about removing children from what we understand marriage to be. Not that all married couples had children, but it was understood that marriage incorporated any children born to the couple into a family, and that children had the right, whenever possible, to know and be raised by the people who created them. Not so with redefined marriage.

    “Redefined marriage”?  What, aren’t married people permitted to own property together anymore?  Is sex between them now prohibited?  Can they no longer live in the same homes?   Are they inter-species now?  Is marriage between people of different hair colors no longer possible?  What is this “redefinition” you speak of?  There are so many possibilities.  I’m all confused.

    • #22
  23. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Fred Cole:

    Merina Smith:Fred, unless you live in a cabin in the woods of, well, probably no place on earth so some other planet, you will live in society and there will be laws and that will be “coercion”. The kind of freedom you think you want does not exist even in the remotest tribe. Conservatives have a concept of allowing the most freedom possible within society. The founders did that. They understood it.

    I’m perfectly okay with cops keeping public order.

    But that’s not that kind of coercion we’re talking about, is it?

    Fred, the range  of social conventions and laws that you’d call “coercion” is very, very broad.  In fact, the legal and social world that keeps people within a range of behavior that allows us all to live together peacefully is complex and intricately woven together. But sorry–I don’t have time today to get into this with a libertarian.

    • #23
  24. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Merina Smith:Fred, the range of social conventions and laws that you’d call “coercion” is very, very broad. In fact, the legal and social world that keeps people within a range of behavior that allows us all to live together peacefully is complex and intricately woven together. But sorry–I don’t have time today to get into this with a libertarian.

    I’m just going to point something out:

    I called you out on your claim that coercion isn’t coercion.

    You responded with the go-live-in-the-woods strawman.

    I called you out on that too.

    And then you spewed forth this oily non-argument hand wave and then ran off.

    • #24
  25. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    So while the media is committing malpractice by not reading this law and reporting that it protects all parties and has been doing so for 20 years, opting instead to carry the liberal talking lie that it’s a new law designed by Republicans to deny gays rights, we on Ricochet will use the opportunity to (again again again) debate marriage definitions.

    Good grief. No wonder our side is losing. We have gay marriage induced attention deficit disorder.

    • #25
  26. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Cato Rand:

    Merina Smith:Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive. And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example. If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    The definition of marriage is an especially elegant way to keep in place the understanding that two sexes are good and necessary, that parents have responsibilities to each other and the children they bring into the world, and that family is a bulwark against government WITHOUT coercion. It is a way to assure more freedom for more people no matter what anyone will tell you about removing children from what we understand marriage to be. Not that all married couples had children, but it was understood that marriage incorporated any children born to the couple into a family, and that children had the right, whenever possible, to know and be raised by the people who created them. Not so with redefined marriage.

    “Redefined marriage”? What, aren’t married people permitted to own property together anymore? Is sex between them now prohibited? Can they no longer live in the same homes? Are they inter-species now? Is marriage between people of different hair colors no longer possible? What is this “redefinition” you speak of? There are so many possibilities. I’m all confused.

    That’s true Cato, you are confused.  Most importantly, the age old way of bringing children into the world and passing along both genetic and family heritage is rapidly going.  Oh yes, people will still love their children and pass along their goods and so on, but government has decided to declare that the definition of family that tells us that the two people who brought a child into the world have the responsibility to care for and rear that child is no longer valid, (with adoption available in unfortunate circumstances) is no longer valid.  It will say what family is and it will not privilege in any way the biological connection and the stringent expectation that biological connection involves responsibility.  ARTS are find and dandy and children do not need (or, we order you, child) want to know their biological parents.  Mother and father are not needed or preferred.  That already is the reality in leftist circles, Cato.  You are a bigot if you do not agree with this.

    • #26
  27. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Tommy De Seno:So while the media is committing malpractice by not reading this law and reporting that it protects all parties and has been doing so for 20 years, opting instead to carry the liberal talking lie that it’s a new law designed by Republicans to deny gays rights, we on Ricochet will use the opportunity to (again again again) debate marriage definitions.

    Good grief. No wonder our side is losing.We have gay marriage induced attention deficit disorder.

    Because, Tommy, if you haven’t noticed, the attempt to redefine marriage is the underlying cause of all these problems.  Good grief.  No wonder our country is going down the tubes.  People refuse to recognize what the real cause of the problems are.

    • #27
  28. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Merina Smith:

    Cato Rand:

    Merina Smith:Fred has a very high “coercion” meter. Many aspects of law and culture like drug laws or the definition of marriage keep important aspects of society in place without being very restrictive. And there are ways to send the message that things like drugs or prostitution are bad without being overly coercive, by decriminalizing for example. If they remain illegal but the punishment is not too severe, government does not send the message that they are good, but people can still make those bad choices without paying a big price if they are caught.

    The definition of marriage is an especially elegant way to keep in place the understanding that two sexes are good and necessary, that parents have responsibilities to each other and the children they bring into the world, and that family is a bulwark against government WITHOUT coercion. It is a way to assure more freedom for more people no matter what anyone will tell you about removing children from what we understand marriage to be. Not that all married couples had children, but it was understood that marriage incorporated any children born to the couple into a family, and that children had the right, whenever possible, to know and be raised by the people who created them. Not so with redefined marriage.

    “Redefined marriage”? What, aren’t married people permitted to own property together anymore? Is sex between them now prohibited? Can they no longer live in the same homes? Are they inter-species now? Is marriage between people of different hair colors no longer possible? What is this “redefinition” you speak of? There are so many possibilities. I’m all confused.

    That’s true Cato, you are confused. Most importantly, the age old way of bringing children into the world and passing along both genetic and family heritage is rapidly going. Oh yes, people will still love their children and pass along their goods and so on, but government has decided to declare that the definition of family that tells us that the two people who brought a child into the world have the responsibility to care for and rear that child is no longer valid, (with adoption available in unfortunate circumstances) is no longer valid. It will say what family is and it will not privilege in any way the biological connection and the stringent expectation that biological connection involves responsibility. ARTS are find and dandy and children do not need (or, we order you, child) want to know their biological parents. Mother and father are not needed or preferred. That already is the reality in leftist circles, Cato. You are a bigot if you do not agree with this.

    Oh lord, now we’re off to ARTS again.  I thought we were talking about marriage.  As confused as I am, it would help if we would stick to one subject.

    • #28
  29. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Fred Cole:

    Merina Smith:Fred, the range of social conventions and laws that you’d call “coercion” is very, very broad. In fact, the legal and social world that keeps people within a range of behavior that allows us all to live together peacefully is complex and intricately woven together. But sorry–I don’t have time today to get into this with a libertarian.

    I’m just going to point something out:

    I called you out on your claim that coercion isn’t coercion.

    You responded with the go-live-in-the-woods strawman.

    I called you out on that too.

    And then you spewed forth this oily non-argument hand wave and then ran off.

    I think the point, Fred, is that there’s good coercion, and bad coercion.  Good coercion is the kind Merina likes.

    • #29
  30. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Cato Rand:I think the point, Fred, is that there’s good coercion, and bad coercion. Good coercion is the kind Merina likes.

    Oh okay.  Wow, I’m glad you cleared that up for me.

    • #30
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