Front Page Titles (by Subject) Do Offers Coerce Freedom? - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4
Do Offers Coerce Freedom? - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
This work is copyrighted by the Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is put online with their permission.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- Literature of Liberty a Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought
- Editorial Staff
- Associate Editors
- Bibliographical Essay: Henry B. Veatch, Natural Law: Dead Or Alive?
- I: Natural Law
- “nature” and “law” In Natural Law
- The Anatomy of Natural Rights
- Egoism and Rights
- The Is/ought Chimera
- Deriving “ought” From “is”
- Facts Vs. Value-laden Whims
- Is/ought and Probable Reasons
- Does Righteous Anger Imply Rights?
- Why Be Moral?
- Truth As an Objective Value
- Was the Revolution Objectively Necessary?
- Natural Law and State of Nature
- Natural Law and the State
- Natural Rights and Anarchism
- Dworkin On Rights
- Liberalism, Rights, and Abortion
- Rights and “mercy Killing”
- Rights and the “brain Drain”
- The Natural Law Right to Work
- Grotius: Contract and Natural Law
- Rights and Communication
- II: Autonomy, Privacy, and Authority
- Bureaucracy and “the Organization Man”
- Autonomy and Anarchism
- Autonomy and Taking Responsibility
- Autonomy, Motivation, and “buck-passing”
- Schooling For Conformity
- The Schoolroom Vs. Autonomy
- Obedience to Authority
- The Meaning of Privacy
- Privacy and Autonomy
- Privacy and Consent
- The Court and Privacy
- III: The Ambiguities of Liberty
- Clarifying Freedom
- Rehabilitating Mill's “harm Principle”
- Experiencing Freedom
- Do Offers Coerce Freedom?
- The Danger of “dangerousness”
- Freedom, Motivation, and Government Programs
- Freedom Vs. Determinism
- Negative Vs. Positive Freedom
- Smith and Utilitarian Economic Freedom
- Locke, Freedom, and Tacit Consent
- Religious Freedom
- Freedom, Existentialism, and Innocent Victims
- Does Censorship Harm Freedom?
- IV: Slavery
- Slavery, Ideology, and Subordination
- Slavery and Imperialist Ideology
- Enlightenment Liberalism Vs. Slavery
- The Anatomy of a Slave Revolt
- Colonial American Slave Law
- Jefferson On Slavery
- Slavery and the Poor
- V: Planning
- Regulation and the Warfare State
- Mail, Privacy, and Social Control
- Corporate State Capitalism: Coal
- French War “planification”: Chlorates
- Bureaucracy and British Regulation
- British Foreign Policy and Stagnation
- Political Decisions and the Economy
- Government, Labor, and Multinationals
- Black Markets Vs. Regulation
- Regulation Vs. Academic Autonomy
- Government Schools and Social Control
- The Economics of Charity
- International State Planning and Inflation
- Competition and Individual Knowledge
Do Offers Coerce Freedom?
- University of Southern California
“Threats and Offers.” The Personalist 52 (October 1977): 382–384.
Can offers ever be coercive and thus limit freedom? The author makes an affirmative case by examining the various ways in which Smith might communicate something to Jones to get Jones to do act A: (1) I (Smith) make your (Jones) present situation worse unless you do A; (2) I will prevent your present situation from improving unless you do A; (3) Your present situation will become worse; and (4) Your present situation won't become better (without my doing anything) unless you do A in order to get me to help it improve.
Of these four motivations, (1) and (2) seem to be the threats, whereas (3) and (4) are apparently offers. The distinction depends upon whether a deliberate act of Smith's makes things worse or fails to improve them. However, it can be argued that (3) and (4) are threats if Smith has an obligation either to prevent Jones's situation from deteriorating or to help that situation to improve.
Given this foundation, Benditt argues that some offers can be coercive. In particular, where Smith takes advantage of the fact that Jones's alternatives are all repugnant by making a somewhat less repugnant offer, Smith might be said to “coerce” Jones and limit Jones's freedom.