Coercion Is Progressivism’s Unifying Theme

What do the minimum wage, gun control laws, and Obamacare have in common? While seemingly very little, at least in terms of the particular social problems they attempt to address, what coheres them in terms of public policy is that they all use the threat of force and, at the limit, violence as the primary means of achieving their objectives. One would be hard pressed to find any public policy area where, given two possible approaches, one focusing on free choice and voluntary action and the other on the use of government force, the approach offered by progressives doesn’t shun the former and embrace the latter. The fact that conservatives and libertarians prefer policy solutions that expand liberty is no secret and is typically held out as a point of pride. The debate between left and right would be a much more honest one if progressives would acknowledge what appears to be easily discerned once it is considered, namely that coercion as a public policy tool is a philosophical principle that is inherent in what they believe. Only then could the merits of freedom vs. compulsion as an approach to policy be openly debated.

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