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Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of intimidation or threats or some other form of pressure or force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response, usually having a strict choice or option against a person in such a way a victim cannot escape, for example: a bully demanding lunch money to a student or the student gets beaten. These actions can include, but are not limited to, extortion, blackmail, torture, and threats to induce favors. Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical pain/injury or psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of further harm may lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced.


  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Legal coercion is a course which the law allows.
    • 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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