On the Coercions of Our Species: I Say, Tomato; You Say, Hate Crime.

Posted on January 30, 2012


All of us, at some point growing up, are coerced by our parents. All parents must coerce their children from time to time, but, from the perspective of the child, the coercion will often seem harmful.

All of us will also, at some point, be bullied in our lives and, again, for many of us, our parents will be the first to do it. Many instances of parental coercion are legitimate because they are undertaken for the well being of the child, however, bullying is always wrong because it’s only aim is to harm. Unfortunately, from the perspective of the child, legitimate parental coercion might be interpreted sometimes as bullying.

Ultimately, some children emulate the coercive practices of their parents, some try not to emulate them at all, some embrace a life of childlike subservience, and some do all three, depending on the time, place, and context.


it might simply be the case that it’s a characteristic of we human primates that some of us coerce, some of us avoid coercion, some of us happily accept subservience, and, of course, some of us do all three depending on the time, place, and context — whatever our parents may or may not have done to us as children.


it is not a question then of whether or not coercion can be avoided — because it can’t — but it is a question of whether or not such coercion is legitimate and whether or not one can quell the self doubt when someone calls it bullying and whether or not one can hear him when he is right.

What do you think? Is coercion an intrinsic feature of living for we human primates?