Coercion and choice

Coercion – to control, restrain, shut up – by law or authority 

Choice – the act of selecting

Living in a society is a constant act of choosing. A free-for-all does not work, because my actions affect your choices and actions.

Being in a room full of smokers might be great for the smokers in the room, yet we know it is damaging for everyone and those of us who do not smoke have no desire to be exposed to smoke. 

The smokers want the right to smoke and the non-smokers want the right to clean air.

How do we negotiate rights for all? Is that coercion or creating rules that are more equitable for the wellbeing for all?

If my choice affects others’ wellbeing is a publicly imposed rule coercive? Are road rules about speeding or driving while drunk coercive?

Where is our sovereign choice?

Choice lives in accepting full responsibility for consequences. Full responsibility! My choosing to drink and drive and possibly kill someone as a consequence requires the full burden of responsibility. What about the person I might kill? Where are their rights? Tragically my choice has removed their choice in its entirety.

Too many of us want our rights without accepting responsibility for consequences. In a society that would rather not consider responsibility, we write rules to protect the innocent. 

This is not coercion. This is enabling a society to thrive. It will always be a negotiation between choice, rights and responsibility.

Photo taken November 11th 2021

Share This