practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats or force
(Redirected from Coercive)

Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of violence, authority, intimidation, threat, manipulation or some other form of pressure or force, physical or psychical. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the autonomy of an individual to induce a desired response.


  • The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future!
    • Báb, The Persian Bayán, II, 16.
  • There are several ways a scoundrel might make others view him in a more positive light. One way would be to start from within, abandon evil, become good, and stop being a scoundrel. Other people would then over time naturally come to recognize the transformation. The second way would be to begin exerting pressure on others, trying to brainwash them into not recognizing a scoundrel for what he is. Finally, a scoundrel might even mount the most audacious plan, and attempt to use manipulation, lies, gaslighting, and brainwashing to turn everyone else into scoundrels too. This would offer the greatest protection.
  • So what is government?  Very simply, it is an agency of coercion.

    Of course, there are other agencies of coercion—such as the Mafia.  So to be more precise, government is the agency of coercion that has flags in front of its offices.

    Or to put it another way, government is society's dominant producer of coercion.  The Mafia and independent bandits are merely fringe competitors—seeking to take advantage of the niches and nooks neglected by the government.

    • Harry Browne, Why Government Doesn't Work (1996), Part One, chapter 2, page 12.
  • the use of threatened force, including the limited use of actual force to back up the threat, to induce an adversary to behave differently than it otherwise would.
    • Daniel L. Byman; Matthew C. Waxman: "Kosovo and the Great Air Power Debate", International Security, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Spring, 2000), pp. 5–38.
  • The exercise of one coercion always makes another inevitable.
    • Anders Chydenius, Thoughts on the Natural Rights of Servants and Peasants, 1778.
  • The capacity to resist coercion stems partly from the individual's identification with a group. The people who stood up best in the Nazi concentration camps were those who felt themselves members of a compact party (the Communists), of a church (priests and ministers), or of a close-knit national group. The individualists, whatever their nationality, caved in. The Western European Jew proved to be the most defenseless. Spurned by the Gentiles (even those within the concentration camps), and without vital ties with a Jewish community, he faced his tormentors alone—forsaken by the whole of humanity. One realizes now that the Ghetto of the Middle Ages was for the Jews more a fortress than a prison. Without the sense of utmost unity and distinctness which the ghetto imposed upon them, they could not have endured with unbroken spirit the violence and abuse of those dark centuries. When the Middle Ages returned for a brief decade in our day, they caught the Jew without his ancient defenses and crushed him.
    • Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (1951) Ch.13 Factors Promoting Self-sacrifice, §45
  • Disorder is more exacting, arising when coercion is substituted for coordination—preventing members in a system from determining their own destiny. History is littered with examples of excluded parts rising up to confront those exclusive few who claim they are representing the whole.
    • Quote in In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics and Human Action by L.K. Samuels, Cobden Press, (2013) p. 130.
  • The idea of painless, non-threatening coercion is an illusion. Fear is the inseparable companion of coercion, and its inescapable consequence. If you think it your duty to make children do what you want, whether they will or not, then it follows inexorably that you must make them afraid of what will happen to them if they don’t do what you want.
  • The physical capacity to coerce others can never generate a moral obligation to obey the dictates of [government] power.
    • Quote from The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism by George H. Smith (2013), Cambridge University Press, p. 147.
  • Legal coercion is a course which the law allows.
    • Giles Rooke, J., Cox v. Morgan (1801), 1 Bos. & Pull. 410; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 30.
  • In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as "we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology". The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion.
  • Amid this life based on coercion, one and the same thought constantly emerged among different nations, namely, that in every individual a spiritual element is manifested that gives life to all that exists, and that this spiritual element strives to unite with everything of a like nature to itself, and attains this aim through love.
  • Le souverain même n’a aucun droit d’employer la contrainte pour amener les hommes à la religion, qui suppose essentiellement choix et liberté. Ma pensée n’est pas plus soumise à l’autorité que la maladie ou la santé.
    • Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty. My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.
      • Voltaire, Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774), "Canon Law: Ecclesiastical Ministry" (1771).

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