Monday, February 16, 2009

Coercion or Consensus

If the state has power of coercion, and that seems to be its primary characteristic, then a state that takes actions that are not supported by a broad consensus has slipped into tyranny. It will be forcing people to do things against their will, without a moral basis for doing so.

This means that state action must be limited to things that most people support, regardless of whether they make their decision about these things on the basis of reason, emotion religion or just following the crowd. Unless that state stays within the lowest common denominator that everyone accepts, it becomes a tyrant. This is true whether the state is totally secular or listens to religious voices.

There are very few state actions that everyone will agree on, so the role of the state must be very limited.

The only question in Politics is this: When is force justified
(Lew Rockwell - The Left, the Right and the State)?

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