Epstein on Coercion

quotes political philosophy classical liberalism coercion

02 Jul 2016

Richard Epstein on coercion:

The central challenge to any political theory is to devise a set of institutions that first allows and then controls the use of coercion against individual citizens for their own benefit.

Our limited use of coercion is done with the paradoxical intention of expanding the scope of individual freedom. It is always dangerous business, but it is only with a conscious awareness of how we must both use and limit government power that we shall find the intellectual tools to resist a descent into the all-powerful welfare state. The practical success of our endeavors depends on the ability to avoid not only the dangers of the all-powerful welfare state but also any categorical reluctance to use coercion to initiate forced exchanges that benefit us all.

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