Friday, December 30, 2016

Persuasion vs Coercion

Darby Shaw: You can't, under any circumstances, use my name. Or reveal how you got the information. Or publish anything until I've left the country. Agreed?
Gray Grantham: Unless I can convince you otherwise.
--The Pelican Brief

How to get someone else to do something that you want? There are two general approaches. One is persuasion. Asking, discussing, suggesting, reasoning, arguing, leading, setting an example. Methods of persuasion are force-free. Because persuasion does not apply force, however, there is a chance that others will not respond in the desired manner.

The other approach is coercion. Harassing, intimidating, strong-arming, beating. Methods of coercion use violence or threat of violence to achieve compliance. Because it applies force, coercion is more likely to elicit the desired response--at least in the short term.

Persuasion is peaceful and voluntary. Coercion is violent and involuntary.

People who use government to get others to do what they want are not engaged in peaceful persuasion. Rather, they are principals of violence, contracting with strong armed agents to engage in coercion.

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