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physical vs. economic force

Ash: "there should be some agreement about what constitutes force. You
seem to imply that only physical force is to be counted, whereas I see
that economic force can be just as devastating."

First, Ash: let me assure you with all my might that I am blunt at
times, but never patronizing. Just because I assume that you and I meant
the same thing in the free citizen piece does not mean that I was
patronizing. Such a thing would be farthest from my mind.

Returning to this critical issue: I have no doubt that the two are
COMPLETELY different things. My Chief Minister wanted an officer who
would manipulate records to allow him to cream off money meant for
cement for construction of school buildings. That was - in its net
outcome - a physical theft. In fact, children could have died out of the
collapse of buildings made out of that cement. However, for this crime,
of manipulation of records, the penalty is quite distinct from the
penalty for homicide or theft. In fact, if you will notice, in the Penal
code, there is a huge difference between theft and robbery. Same

I want only one guarantee from a government: that no body will use force
against me (which includes, in case we were not on the same wavelength,
my property). If that guarantee is not upheld, then there is no
governance, no government. I owe no allegience to that so-called

Let me illustrate the process using A and B, who differ on some issue:

Case I: use of economic temptation:

A talks to B. B disagrees. A decides to offer $100 to tempt B to agree. 

	Now B might agree or disagree

If B agrees - whose decision was it? A's or B's? 
If B disagrees even now, then whose decision was it? A's or B's?

Remember, B is an individual human being, maximizing his or her utility
each moment.

Case II: use of physical force:

A talks to B. B disagrees. A decides to hit B.

If B agrees - whose decision was it? A's or B's?  

The court provides immunity from the Police for confessions "extorted"
by force. There is no penalty for use of economic temptation for a
confession. In fact, we don't like the Police to use 3rd degree but we
do not mind them giving amnesty or reward, if the prisoner/s talk.
Economic temptation is used all the time: we use it to make children
study. Is that "force?" Employers use it (commission) to make employees
work harder. Is that "force?"

The whole business of law runs on the way the mind perceives a
particular action. If the mind of B is able to voluntarily take a
decision, even if that decision is conditional on the receipt or absence
of an economic reward, there is a different treatment than if that
decision is taken by use or threat of use of physical force.

I hope we see the same thing now. The complete and TOTAL difference
between physical force and economic force. Not comparable.


Ash: "we are not vested with the right to try to change each others'
faith. Proselytization is UNFAIR to me"

If the debate on IPI is called "debate," where we are trying to change
each other's views on the economic system through persuasion, then why
is the act of talking to each other on religion different? I do
understand that it hurts us more deeply to have someone tell us that our
religion is good or bad, but it is NOT different in principle. Religion
is a system of beliefs, and therefore talking to others is permissble.
So long as it is only a talk and an appeal to reason.

If you are being 'proselytized' then you have the right to shut your
door and request that you do not wish to listen. Full stop. There is no
more 'unfairness' in that than if someone comes to sell cosmetics to
your door. You choose. You are the decider of whether you want to

If you don't like someone **else** (another ADULT) deciding to listen,
then I can tell you : it is none of your business. That someone who is
listening is an individual adult, entitled to take their own decisions.
They are not your baby in any case, needing your protection from
listening to others. That would be the same as censoring. Is censoring
good? Do not encroach into other people's private decisions to listen to
one thing or the other.

You are **actually** being patronizing of that other person if you do
not wish him to listen to something. If you trust that person to VOTE
and to elect your government, then you must trust that person to decide
his or her beliefs and to listen to whatever he or she wants. Let each
person choose. Choice is the essence of IPI. If that is missing, then
all is lost. We listen since we want to listen. But in the end WE
decide, individually. Listening, understanding, and then changing one's
belief system, is not the same as being converted by force.

What some ancient kings had practiced was conversion by force: become
the follower of X or Y religion or you die! That is terrible. The other
one, of someone coming and saying: "Hey! You know what, your religion is
is a pagan religion, listen to this better alternative! Think about
changing to this religion" is NOT terrible. That is perfectly a part of
democracy and it is like selling one brand of toothpaste over the other.
I do appreciate, once again, that this does not 'sound' the same: it
touches us at a deeper level. But that is the challenge: letting people
make choices even in such a situation where we might feel emotionally
that we are losing something if someone else finally converts. Detach
oneself from the choices of others, so long as those choices do not
impose a physical penalty on us.

It is like letting one's grown-up child decide on his/ her marriage
partner.  Painful, but perhaps best for the child. And democratic.


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