In Political Liberalism, John Rawls argues that, “political power is always coercive power backed by the government’s use of sanctions, for government alone has authority to use force in upholding its laws”.[i]
In saying as much, Rawls is echoing a commonly held belief: that the state has the power to coerce its citizens, and this coercion prevents citizens from breaking the law. In most modern states, citizens are routinely threatened with arrest and incarceration if they do not abide by the state’s legal system. The language of “authority” is often used to justify this coercive action.[ii]
Admittedly the state will not always use violence or threats to make citizens obey the law, and indeed most Western liberal citizens will rarely ever encounter police intrusion into their daily lives (Morris, 2004, p. 201).[iii] But the presence of force will always exist as a measure of last resort in the background of living. This is what Schauer calls the “force of law,” and as he suggests, “at the heart of law is law telling us what to do, and threatening us with bad stuff if we don’t [do it]” (Schauer, 2015).[iv]
In this article I argue that it is possible for the state, and law, to exist without the use of coercion as a means of social control. Coercion I define narrowly as the use or threat of force to compel a person to act in a particular way. At first, I seek a broader understanding of the definition of coercion, before exploring the coercive force of law. In particular, I argue for prevention rather than violent intervention for the maintenance of civic order, and substantiate that most deviant behaviour can be addressed through the socialization process of young adults, through the use of role models, social rewards and social punishments.
Coercion is routinely defined by political theorists as the “coordin[ation] of behaviour through the use or threat of force” (Gaus and Kukathas 2004; Wolff 1996).[v] A more precise wording comes from Hayek, who suggests, “coercion implies both the threat of inflicting harm and the intention thereby to bring about certain conduct” (Hayek 1960, p. 133).[vi] To apply Hayek’s definition here it can be said: the state threatens citizens with imprisonment and arrest with the intent of bringing about legal compliance. It is uniquely state coercion that uses force in this manner (Kelsen 1967).[vii] The power to send in riot squads to quell crowds, police patrols to arrest people and the military to quell social revolution are all seen as “legitimate” when exercised by the state, but unlawful when exercised by private individuals (Humer 2012).[viii] Coercion is likewise contrasted against other means of getting someone to act in a particular way.[ix] The threat or use of force demands a greater level of obedience than a simple democratic appeal to rationality or sensibilities, and when threatened by force, citizens have a greater tendency to comply with the law (Baier 1995, p. 156).[x] Coercion is therefore the state’s primary means of social control.[xi]
Several political theorists argue for a looser definition of coercion here. However a looser definition would ignore the particular realities of state-sanctioned coercion. Thomas Aquinas suggests that coercion is simply making someone do something that they do not wish to do (Aquinas 1273).[xii] In a similar manner, Nagel argues that coercion is forcing someone “to serve an end that he cannot be given adequate reason to share” (Nagel 1991, p. 30).[xiii] These definitions are so broad as to be meaningless in the current discussion. In particular, they encompass a broad range of activities that are routinely committed by non-state actors in everyday life. A non-state actor could for instance, ‘coerce’ someone “against [his] inclination” to “serve an end” that he does not share, through the use of persuasion, dialogue, blackmail, non-violent threats, economic rewards and so on. Yet these are not the kinds of measures that the state utilises to compel subjects to comply with the law. The state utilises some of these measures as initial steps of prevention, but the final coercive power of law comes from the state’s ability to threaten livelihood and freedom of movement through force, compulsion and incarceration.[xiv]
3) Force of Law:
To return to Rawls’s quote above, Rawls claims: “political power is always coercive power… for government alone has the authority to use force” (Rawls 1993, p. 136).[xv] Here he explicitly connects the state’s coercion with the fact that the state has a monopoly on the use of force (Weber 1919).[xvi] State coercion is not viewed as immoral (as it would be if perpetrated by non-state actors), but as a kind of inevitability of political power, a kind of “legitimate” power -as Weber holds it- because the state’s monopoly of violence prevents the descent of society into social anarchy (O’Kane 1996).[xvii] Without state institutions that know “the use of violence”, society would descend into a war of “every man against every man,” or in other words, a Hobbesian state of nature (Hobbes 1651, pp. 76-79).[xviii] Raymond Guess suggests that someone cannot randomly break your legs while you are walking down the street, in the sense that they are capable of such a feat, but if they were to do so, you could “appeal to the police to use force in return” (Geuss 2001, p. 17).[xix] Here, the coercive force of law is justified by Guess as a means of deterring crime, anarchy and social instability.[xx]
Van der Rjit goes further by suggesting that it is not “problematic” that the state uses force to compel its citizens to obey the law, for the state is simply compelling citizens to do what they already should be doing; following moral precepts not to kill, not to steal, to always pay taxes and so on (Van der Rjit 2012, p. 28).[xxi] Here however, Rjit avoids the central question of whether coercion used by the state is itself a violation of moral norms, whether the state itself is failing to live up to its own moral principles when it uses violence against its citizens, when the state’s own laws discourage that exact form of violence. The “inevitability” of the state’s use of violence is an explicit double standard of tolerance for violence, when compared to the gravity and horror that political theorists like Rjit, Hobbes, Weber and so on, connect to the use of force by private individuals or the violent upheaval caused by social anarchy. This is the central hypocrisy in the force of law argument, where states are viewed as somehow above morality, law and ethics due to their implied political legitimacy.
Linking the use of force to political legitimacy or “authority” is likewise problematic as it presumes that violent coercion is the only means by which a state can ultimately enforce the law. There is a common argument that law would simply not be followed if it were not for legal infractions being punished through physical force (Aquinas 1273; Alagappa 2001).[xxii] Hobbes himself argues, “covenants without the sword, are but words, and of no strength to secure a man at all” (Hobbes 1651).[xxiii] Such bold statements are not self-evident. It does not necessarily follow that every law or rule in a society must have the violent force of law behind it. Indeed, if cooperation between citizens can be enforced by other means, “then this Hobbesian Fear is mistaken” (Skoble 2008, p. 25).[xxiv] Christopher Morris (2004) proposes a hypothetical society of angels; a society in which every citizen is always motivated to follow the law. The society is constructed out of angel citizens, and so in such a society, no coercion would be necessary to control the citizenry. Morris himself admits that such a society is fanciful but insists that it is not inconceivable -it can be imagined- and therefore concludes, “there is nothing in the nature of law which requires… compliance be assured coercively” (Morris 2004, p. 34).[xxv] Morris is correct in asserting that at least conceptually coercion is not the only means of ensuring legal compliance. But to get to the truth of the matter, it must be asked whether something else, aside from coercion or a hypothetical society of angels, could bind the population together to ensure a state of legal compliance.
4) Criticizing the Force of Law:
The fact that political philosophers feel the need to legitimise the use of coercion by the state is revealing. If coercion were a moralistic principle then no such justification would be necessary. It is only because the state, in using coercion, commits what in any other institution or individual’s place would be an immoral or criminal act, that legitimisation is required. The justifications used vary. Hobbes and Weber argue that individuals receive a greater benefit than a loss from the state’s use of coercive force and therefore, the state’s use of coercion is “legitimate” (O’Kane 1996).[xxvi] Hoffe (1995) argues that the individual cost in freedom of action and choice, particularly in the risks of being arrested or incarcerated, are far outweighed by the distributive advantage for all, gained under a coercive government (safety, security and protection).[xxvii] These arguments tend to be evasions of, rather than answers to, the question of whether coercion itself is a legitimate act. In all cases, Hobbes, Weber and Hoffe seem to be suggesting that the ends (a united, peaceful society) justify the means (coercive, violent force), but they never directly answer whether the means, in isolation, are justified. One might suggest that this effort in legitimising the coercive use of force is actually irrelevant in the absence of a consideration of alternative non-coercive systems. If a non-coercive state, as Hoffe suggests, would require no legitimisation whatsoever, then why not first consider whether a non-coercive state is possible, before engaging in the mental gymnastics necessary to justify a coercive regime?[xxviii]
a) Counterargument “Evolution”:
One way of evading the negative associations of the coercive force of law argument is to suggest that the use of force is only temporary, and more prevalent in early-state societies. Innes declares that late-modern states are less reliant on coercive policing, for instance (Innes 2003).[xxix] He cites city planning and architecture as new means of preventing crime, without any use of coercive force whatsoever (Innes 2003).[xxx] Foucalt too, suggests that modern Western states are moving beyond the traditional use of violence towards a more psychological control of the population, although he explicitly condemns this development (Foucalt 1997, pp. 220-221).[xxxi] Community based policing initiatives have become vogue in many developed nations, as a method of using the community as a first resort to solve social problems prior to the involvement of police (Scull 1984).[xxxii] Yet while these trends are occurring in many developed nations, the broader “evolutionary” argument tends to ignore that the final resolution of law in all of these cases will still be the coercive use of force by police.
In an ideal world, the state will minimize its use of violence whilst maintaining a monopoly on the use of violence, as this ensures a kind of sustainable civic peace. But it remains unclear if this ‘evolutionary’ argument is valid. As it stands, those proposing that every state will eventually evolve into a form of pacifistic society are in themselves proposing an eventual society of angels. It is unclear how a utopian state will emerge simply through the utilisation of current practices and vague new trends towards informal policing.
5) Alternatives to Coercive Government:
- Standard of Proof:
Raymond Geuss is the first to admit that no state has ever “fully monopolise[d] the use of force” and that “crime exists even in the most repressive regime[s]” (Geuss 2001, p. 32).[xxxiii] Deviant behaviour, like murder, exist even in countries that use excessive force against their citizens to deter such crime, for example in countries like Iran or North Korea. Texas, as another example, has the highest rate of murder in the United States, despite having the highest rate of capital punishment (Sorenson et. al 1999, pp. 481-493).[xxxiv] Despite these clear flaws in current models of civic justice, a benchmark of 0% criminal or civil disobedience is often used as a benchmark for any alternative system. Christopher Morris places an unreasonably high burden on his own argument when he proposes a society of angels, where everyone always follows the law and there is no civic disobedience (Morris 2004).[xxxv] To put it simply, it need not be the case that an alternative non-violent non-coercive justice system always results in civil obedience to all laws, but rather that such a system ensures the same, or slightly more, civil obedience than that which exists under the current system. What is sought is a replacement civic justice system, not a utopian pacifistic state.
6) General Argument – Example Societies:
Most of the arguments in favour of coercion suggest that without it, society always descend into a Hobbesian state of nature.
Anthropological evidence has largely disproven this absolutist position, since societies have been found that survive peacefully without any coercive authority whatsoever (Fletcher 1997; Price 2009).[xxxvi] Most of the evidence comes from tribal and medieval societies, often from isolated, small communities, where people are heavily reliant on each other economically for survival (Price 2009).[xxxvii]
An examination of four such societies follows.
- The Djuka:
The Djuka are a native tribe of Suriname, South America, whom still maintain traditional practices. Core to these practices is a system of marriage whereby the husband is constantly negotiating “economic arrangements” between his village, his wife’s village, and his father’s village (Kriekan 1989, pp. 193-218; Hoefte 2014, pp. 10-25).[xxxviii] This creates a form of economic interdependency between the husband and the three village populations, as he needs these relations to be sustainable to secure continued access to food and livelihood (Hoefte 2014).[xxxix] Due to this interdependency, attitudes of self-restraint, including abhorrence of violence and physical aggression, along with the traits of diplomatic guile have become the most rewarded features of Djuka society (Hoefte 2014).[xl] By consequence, interpersonal violence has become rare, even though the tribe lacks any centralised coercive police force.
- The Innuit Eskimos:
As another example, in traditional Innuit Eskimo communities in Canada, violence was resolved through complicated mechanisms of non-coercive dispute resolution (Briggs 2000).[xli] Innuits had a cultural practice of avoiding mention of personal “unhappiness, discontent and irritation” as these emotions were “considered dangerous” when voiced aloud (Briggs 2000, pp. 110-124).[xlii] They refrained from creating “alliances” against one another and when conflict did arise, community members had a practice of never “taking sides” (Briggs 2000, pp. 111-113).[xliii] If conflict persisted, a community leader would “lecture the troublemakers in a public forum” and if this failed, the troublemakers would engage in a “song duel,” singing offensive songs at each other (Briggs 2000, pp. 113-116).[xliv] These songs would be sung during times of festivity where they could easily be confused with merriment, and would often be layered with a unique kind of irony, never explicitly mentioning the conflict they centred upon. The Innuits were therefore a society with several highly developed non-coercive dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Medieval Icelandic Society:
In Medieval Iceland in the 900s, there was no police force, army or navy to enforce ‘court’ orders, but there was still a centralised arbitration system, with complicated rules and orders which could still be considered “law” (Hadfield and Weingeist 2013).[xlv] The judgments of informal courts were not enforced by centralised coercion, but were left in the hands of the successful plaintiff (Hadfield and Weingeist 2013, pp. 19-20).[xlvi] Of course this system had its own violence, with the condemned defendant often slain “like Cain, without incurring… any liability” (Hadfield and Weingeist 2013, pp. 19-20).[xlvii] However, for relevant purposes, Medieval Icelandic society had a centralized system that lacked any coercive arm of government – something which is often cited as impossible in political theory.
d) The Jains of India:
The Jains are a religious sect in India, numbering in the region of 4.2 million (BBC 2009).[xlviii] The central tenant of Jainism is the belief in non-violence or ahimsa, what has elsewhere been described as “harmlessness” (Pruthi 2000).[xlix] A core spiritual book The Book of Sermons suggests: “if a man kills living things… his sin goes on increasing” (Pruthi 2000, p. 1).[l] Ahimsa is the dominant standard “by which all actions are judged” in the Jain community, meaning that Jains largely self-regulate for violent behaviour (‘Ahimsa’ 2015).[li] In their many temples and communities, they do not necessarily require the same civic governance, due to this self-regulation. Jainism has had a lasting impact on India’s culture and was pivotal particularly in the formation of the beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi, including the manner and form with in which Gandhi approached political matters (‘Ahimsa’ 2015).[lii] Although not a ‘community’ in the strict sense, the Jains are an interesting example of how religious teaching can prevent violence and civic disobedience in a non-coercive manner.
A few significant qualifications must be made about the usefulness of the above anthropological evidence. Firstly, most of the societies above had very small populations (with the exception of the Jains), and nothing near the millions of citizens present in most modern states (Innes 2003).[liii] It is possible that modern states are simply too large to function without a formalised mechanism of coercive control, as most of these informal measures tend to only work when people are known to one another (Briggs 2000).[liv] Social bonds tend to work in such small-scale settings. Secondly, many of the above societies existed without threats from outside aggressors and hence had little need for armed soldiers, an army or border protection force (Barzel 2002, p. 201).[lv] Thirdly, local practices and customs, including customs of non-violence or self-control, take hold more freely in “static” societies like tribes, where populations remain constant, but are less prevalent in changing communities like big cities, where local customary practices cannot be taught to the depth, time and extent necessary for sustainable social control of the population.
As a result of these qualifications, many political philosophers dismiss small-scale pacifist societies as irrelevancies. Max Weber painted the pacifist society of Quakers in Pennsylvannia during the War of Independence as “tragic”, because they were unable to stand up for their ideals when exposed to external threats (Weber 1919).[lvi] However, it is simplistic to dismiss all pacifistic societies as irrelevancies simply because they are small or otherwise different to large modern states. The above analysis does show that informal mechanisms of social control can work in a social system, and so it is worth investigating if similar methods could be implemented on a wider basis, albeit in a different form, to suit a large modern state.
7) Informal Social Control Mechanisms:
Informal social control involves loosely organised forms of “everyday social interaction” ranging from condemnation to praise, spoken by any member of a society (Anleu 1995).[lvii] Formal control tends to utilise coercion, by police and so on, to demand retribution after a deviant behaviour has occurred, through arrest, incarceration and punishment, whereas informal social control is often used beforehand, as a means of “engineering away that [deviant] choice” (Marx 2007, p. 51).[lviii]
In the following section I examine whether informal mechanisms of social control can prevent crime and violence in a state, and thereby replace the use of coercion altogether.
a) Socialisation and Social Norms:
John Stuart Mill once argued that the law’s main purpose is to reinforce existing social stigmas, and that it is the social stigma itself “which is really effective” in preventing the crime (Mill 1909).[lix] Legal scholar Frederick Schauer, who himself argues in favour of the force of law, concedes that the Finnish people will not cross the street at a red light even at midnight when no police are around to coerce them into obeying jaywalking laws (Schauer 2015).[lx] What is guiding the Finnish people’s restraint here is not the threat of coercion, but the unspoken social norm of the society in which they live; internalised through a process of socialisation. The process of socialisation, or learning social behaviour, is widespread in developed nations, and occurs predominantly during a process of public education and schooling (‘Social Norm’ 2014).[lxi] To a large extent most laws in developed states are obeyed simply because children are taught the values and norms of their society. Through education, children learn a kind of self-restraint ethic, internalizing the difference between good and bad behaviour, and thereby feel internal shame when doing the wrong thing.[lxii] This creates a kind of self-monitoring, where citizens become internally motivated to follow the right course of action: for example, to not jaywalk, even at midnight.
A social morality exists even where no such morality should logically exist, if coercion is the sole determinant of social obedience. There are no police officers on golf courses, for example, yet most golfers will follow the rules and norms set by their golfing clubs (Barzel 2002, p. 57).[lxiii] Civic groups in sport and other social groups like this are “strong on etiquette” but weak on enforcement, and yet tend to only “occasionally” need to “penalize members” through expulsion.[lxiv] It is hard to prove that all golfers simply abide by social etiquette due to the social norms of their respective golf clubs and not because of their wider link to a society that does have a coercive punishment system, police and so on. However, it appears that most children and adults who do internalize the norms and values of a society simply become “less likely to break the law”.[lxv] Humans are nurtured into being good citizens, it would appear, and even if every police force were abolished tomorrow, there is no explicit guarantee that all golfers would become marauding violent offenders overnight, even though a Hobbesian fear would suggest as much. Indeed, it may well be that the social norms of decency, self-restraint and self-control, already internalised, will continue to function in a society that goes on to abolish coercive enforcement.
The real process of a state is therefore not to coerce people into legal compliance but to internalise within them non-violent behavioural patterns, on a sustainable basis.
b) Rewards and Punishments
At the core of socialisation is a process of reinforcement of behaviour through punishments and rewards. Social psychologists have long understood that social rewards reinforce behaviours, while social punishments deter behaviours.[lxvi] New social norms are created when both rewards and punishments are used in concert. Indeed, the existing criminal justice system is built on sanctions on the one hand and reward mechanisms (like tax breaks for charity) on the other.[lxvii]
A modern non-coercive state would therefore have to utilise rewards and punishments to socialise children into non-violent behavioural patterns. Key to this process is the understanding of “satisfaction” in human behaviour.[lxviii] Most of our behaviour is driven by a desire for maximum satisfaction.[lxix] To exploit this desire, the state would have to ensure that acting in a non-violent manner garners the most satisfaction (social approval and tangible rewards of social recognition) while acting violently garners the least satisfaction (incurring punishments of embarrassment, anxiety, shame and social ostracisation).[lxx] Rewards and punishments are reinforced by “parents, teachers, authority figures” and “peers,” as these are the most influential people in a young person’s life.[lxxi] Authority figures should therefore act as role models for particular behavioural choices and reinforce these choices through the use of social approval.[lxxii] Ostracisation and lack of social attention can act as an opposing social punishment. Eventually, through such a system, children come to “seek approval as an end in itself” and make decisions based on whether those around them will accept those decisions.[lxxiii] Again, an internal moral compass is created, that lacks the requirement of external coercive force.
Everyone experiences social rewards and punishments differently, but each of us has a higher limit where punishment outweighs reward, and a decision -to act violently, for instance- becomes unpalatable. Being ignored, ostracised, laughed at, mocked or ridiculed, is one way in which society can punish the individual in a non-coercive manner to outweigh any perceived benefit of deviant behaviour.[lxxiv] To use an indirectly relevant example, social punishment is widely used in the West to shame public nudity.[lxxv] The practice of public nudity is much more prevalent in tribal societies that lack Western social punishments of shame, ridicule, laughter and humiliation for not wearing clothes.[lxxvi] Therefore, social punishments have historically been used in this manner to control the behaviour of the population, towards a consensus-based moral outcome.
On the other end of the spectrum, negative behaviours can be reinforced by misguided social rewards from negative role models. Young gang members are often socialised into violent behaviours through the social approval gained when they join a gang.[lxxvii] A non-coercive state would therefore have to discourage the prevalence of negative role models, while actively encouraging non-violent behaviour through the use of social rewards for pro-social behaviour.
Most adults have or once had a desire for anti-social behaviour but through a process of socialisation have “buried” this behaviour deep within their subconscious.[lxxviii] When it is allowed to escape, at nightclubs, for example, the escape is limited, ritualised, and celebrated by the peer group – much like the Ancient Greeks ritualised the use of violence in duels and organized battles to deter wider violence in society.[lxxix] This ritualisation is a kind of cathartic release, most prevalent in modern states in activities like sport. These activities are increasingly moving the individual away from “active enjoyment” of an activity to a more ritualised and often indirect “spectator pleasure”– particularly with the increase in televised sport and other spectator mediums.[lxxx] There is evidence linking boxing and sport with the rehabilitation of young offenders coming out of the prison system, and also beforehand, to deter juvenile crime.[lxxxi] Hence, to form a non-coercive state, the state would have to utilise pseudo-violent activities as part of a cathartic release for the general population, moving citizens from active participants in violence, to participants in pseudo-violence or spectator sports.
c) Critique of Social Norms (Limitations):
There are admittedly some qualifications that must be made about the above arguments relating to social norms and socialisation. Firstly, it must be admitted that “not all people” will socialise norms in the exact same manner and that some citizens will resort to violence when others would not, even if they have undergone the same socialisation process of all citizens.[lxxxii] Secondly, the enforcement of “social norms” to some extent presupposes a consensus on the norms of a society, even when a consensus is rare or unlikely, as in a multicultural, multilingual, multireligious modern state. There is a necessity then to first form a consensus on what the norms and values of the state should be, before any such norms can be socialised.[lxxxiii] Finally, punishments, such as condemnation, or even economic sanction, would likely be needed in some form to deter the most aggressive and violent offenders in a society. Although these punishments need not be coercive in themselves, the fact that some punishment would be needed in a transient demographic cannot easily be disputed.
d) Implementation through Group Formation:
Social psychology has long established that group dynamics play a significant role in the amount of empathy individuals feel for one another.[lxxxiv] We have more empathy for people who are part of our own group (family; sport; religion; political party), as compared to people from other groups.[lxxxv] This empathy materialises in “helping behaviour,” where we tend to help people in our own group more than in others.[lxxxvi] One of the worst aspects of modern states, as compared to the anthropological societies listed above, is that they tend to significantly diminish the amount of group affiliations people have with one another.[lxxxvii] Pre-state societies tend to have strong group affiliations between neighbours, including tribal membership, religious worship and familial relations. Modern states by contrast, teach lessons of “stranger danger” and tend to stratify individuals into segmentations in accordance with their interests, jobs, social status and other demographic features.[lxxxviii] One of the challenges of a non-coercive state is to reinvigorate group affiliation between people in local areas so that they feel that they are part of the same group, thus increasing the empathy they feel for one another and decreasing the indifference and/or hostility they feel towards their immediate neighbours.[lxxxix] This empathy boost has a by-product of decreasing crime and thereby lessening the need for state-sanctioned coercive control.[xc] Informal policing is likewise said to work better in situations where people know each other well, so as to enforce social norms through shame and other social punishments, rather than arrest and incarceration. A non-coercive state would likely have to rely on stronger group affiliations between locals, reinforcing a shared identity and a shared in-group, in terms of nationality and collective co-existence in the same geographical area.
8) Public Ritual Condemnation:
It may well be that coercion is not as necessary as public condemnation itself. Indeed, one could imagine “an elaborate public ritual, exploiting… religion and mystery, music and drama, to express… the community’s condemnation of a criminal”.[xci] A kind of court of condemnation held in public, preceeded by laughter, mocking and music and drama might well cause the social fear and anxiety mentioned above, necessary to deter someone from repeating the same deviant act. A similar system of “public lecturing” was quite effective in native Innuit Eskimo communities, in deterring violence.[xcii] NSW, Australia utilises its own “reintegrative shaming” through the practice of circle sentencing.[xciii] Circle sentencing places offenders in front of “the victim, family, friends and coworkers” along with community elders.[xciv] The victim expresses an emotional response to the offender’s crime, while elders in the community lecture the offender on the community’s social norms that bear relevance.[xcv] Circle sentencing has been one of the most effective non-coercive measures of preventing recidivism in NSW – resulting in the same amount of recidivism as the normal court system, despite lacking coercive enforcement.[xcvi]
9) Implementation, Up-scaling and State Formation:
A non-coercive state would likely utilise various forms of the above informal social control mechanisms, along with economic or shame-based punishment, to systematically deter civil disobedience in the population. A combination of socialisation of the youth, social norms, social rewards and punishments and group affiliation with locals may be enough to normalize non-violent behaviour in a local community, at a large enough scale to deter the worst aspects of anti-social behaviour in society. Concerns raised above about the small-scale nature of the anthropological examples, could likely be addressed through local level implementation: through the use of local and district councils, community groups and community organizing. Creating strong group affiliations and ties between members of local communities would appear to be the starting point, before systematically organizing people to enforce social rewards and punishments on a wider, national level. The Jains of India, numbering 4.2 million, are perhaps the largest group on record to sustain a commitment to non-violence at the scale measurable to a modern state over a prolonged period of time.[xcvii] There is much to learn from how the Jains explicitly celebrate non-violent virtues, as opposed to explicitly punishing violent offenders for indiscretions.[xcviii] A modern non-coercive state would likely have to follow the Jains’ example, in creating the kinds of local social infrastructure necessary to foster a non-violent attitude amongst the majority of the people, whilst simultaneously maintaining economic and shame-based punishment mechanisms in reserve, for if people disobey. Much of the existing infrastructure in modern states, including courts and government bodies, can simply transition away from coercive to non-coercive dispute resolution, although the exact technicalities of such a transition are beyond the scope of this article.
This article explored numerous alternative civic justice systems that do not resort to violence or the threat of violence to enforce the law. The absolutist position that in the absence of coercion, society will always descend into a form of social anarchy, has been disproven. Instead, it has been shown that small-scale communities have existed that have sustainably enacted non-coercive systems that have worked in the absence of coercive regimes. Many of these systems utilised informal control mechanisms. A non-coercive state would therefore likely have to utilise informal control mechanisms to impose non-coercive social control on the population. The informal mechanisms could include socialisation, social norms, the use of positive role models and the teaching of self-restraint ethics and the formation of group affiliation. It is clear from the above explorations that coercion is not the only method by which the state can enforce the law, and that other methods of ensuring civic obedience to law deserve further examination and study.
[i] Rawls, J. 1993. Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
[ii] Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, trans. A.M. Henderson and T. Parsons (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), 156; Christopher Morris, “The Modern State,” in Handbook of Political Theory, ed. Gerald F. Gaus and Chandran Kukathas (London: Sage Publications, 2004) 196; Erving Goffman, “The Interaction of Order: American Sociological Association,” American Sociological Review 48, no. 1 (1982): 6; David H. Bayley, “The Police and Political Development in Europe” in The Formation of National States in Europe, ed. Charles Tilly (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), 328; Heather J. Gert, Linda Radzik and Michael Hand, “Hampton on the Expressive Power of Punishment,” Journal of Social Philosophy 35, no. 1 (2004): 79-90.
[iii] Morris, “The Modern State,” 201.
[iv] “‘The Force of Law.” YouTube video, July 25 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVZpk-AT6K8.
[v] Gaus and Kukathas, 200; Jonathon Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 39.
[vi] Frederick Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1960), 133; Aeon J. Skoble, Deleting the State: An Argument About Government (Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 2008), 25.
[vii] Hans Kelsen, The Pure Theory of Law, trans. Max Knight (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.
[viii] Michael Huemer, The Problems of Political Authority (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 10-11.
[ix] Christopher Morris, “State and Coercion,” Social Philosophy and Policy 29, no. 1 (2012): 34.
[x] Kurt Baier, The Rational and the Moral Order: The Social Roots of Reason and Morality (Chicago: Open Court Publishing, 1995), 156.
[xi] Gavin Weston, “(Un)imagining the State” Etnofoor, State/Violence 23, no. 2 (2011): 86.
[xii] Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (1920 ), trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, I.II Q96 A5.
[xiii] Thomas Nagel, Equality and Partiality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 159; Morris, “State Coercion and Force,” 30.
[xiv] Bayley, 328.
[xv] Rawls, 136.
[xvi] Rawls, 136; Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation” (January 28 1919), 15-20; Raymond Geuss, History and Illusion in Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 15.
[xvii] Rosemary H.T. O’Kane, Terror, Force and States: The Path From Modernity (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 1996) 78.
[xviii] Weber, “Politics as a Vocation,” 17; Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, (1651), ed. Rod Hay (McMaster University Archive of the History of Economic Thought), 76-79; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive, “‘Hobbes’ Moral and Political Philosophy,” last modified February 25 2014, http://plato.standford.edu/entries/hobbes-moral/.
[xix] Geuss, 17.
[xx] Huemer, 10-11.
[xxi] Jan-Willem Van der Rjit, The Importance of Assent: A Theory of Coercion and Dignity (New York: Springer Science, 2012), 28.
[xxii] Aquinas, The Summa Theologica, II.I Q95 A1; “Hampton on the Expressive Power of Punishment,” 79-90; Muthiah Alagappa ed. Coercion and Governance: The Declining Political Role of the Military in Asia (California: Stanford University Press, 2001), 10.
[xxiii] Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 1649.
[xxiv] Skoble, 43.
[xxv] Morris, “State Coercion and Force,” 34.
[xxvi] Rosemary H.T. O’Kane, Terror, Force and States: The Path From Modernity (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 1996) 78.
[xxvii] Otfried Hoffe, Political Justice: Foundations for a Critical Philosophy of Law and the State, Jeffrey C. Cohen (trans.) (Polity Press, 1995) 36, 40.
[xxix] Martin Innes, Understanding Social Control: Deviance, Crime and Social Order (Berkshire: Open University Press, 2003), 11.
[xxx] Innes, 11.
[xxxi] Michel Foucalt, Power, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (London: Allen Lane, 1977), 220-1.
[xxxii] Innes, 12; Andrew Scull, Decarceration: Community Treatment and the Deviant – A Radical View (London: Polity Press, 1984).
[xxxiii] Geuss, 32.
[xxxiv] J. Sorenson, R. Wrinkle, V. Brewer and J. Marquart, “Capital Punishment and Deterrence: Examining the Effect of Executions on Murder in Texas” Crime and Delinquency 45, (1999): 481-493.
[xxxv] Morris, “State Coercion and Force,” 33.
[xxxvi] Jonathan Fletcher, Violence and Civilization (Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 1997) 37; Richard Price, “Ethnology: From Isolation towards Integration: The Surinam Maroons and their Colonial Rulers: Official Documents Relating to the Djukas (1845–1863)” American Anthropologist 81, no. 1 (2009): 168.
[xxxvii] Price, 168.
[xxxviii] Robert van Kriekan, “Violence, self-discipline and modernity: beyond the Civilizing Process” Sociological Review 37, no. 2 (1989): 193-218; Roesemary Hoefte, Suriname in the Long Twentieth Century: Domination, Contestation, Globalization (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) 10-25.
[xxxix] Hoeffe, 15-20.
[xl] Hoeffe, 15-20.
[xli] Jean L. Briggs, “Conflict Management in a Modern Inuit Community,” in ed. Peter P. Schweitzer, Megan Biesele and Robert K. Hitchkock, Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World: Conflict, Resistance and Self-Determination (New York: Berghahn Books, 2000) 110-124.
[xlii] Briggs, 110-124.
[xliii] Briggs, 111-113.
[xliv] Briggs, 113-116.
[xlv] Gillian K. Hadfield and Barry R. Weingast, “Law Without Coercion: Examining the Role of Law in Coordinating Collective Punishment” Journal of Law and Courts 1, no. 3-34 (2013) 19-20.
[xlvi] Hadfield and Weingast, 19-20.
[xlvii] Hadfield and Weingast, 19-20.
[xlviii] ‘Jainism at a Glance’ BBC (27 August 2009) http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.
[xlix] Raj Pruthi, Jainism and Indian Civilization (Discovery Publishing House, 2004) 90; Ellise Boulding, Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History (Syracuse University Press, 2000) 81.
[l] Raj Pruthi, Jainism and Indian Civilization (Discovery Publishing House, 2004) 97.
[li] ‘Ahimsa,’ Encyclopedia of Brittanica (2015) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/10041/ahimsa.
[liii] Innes, 34.
[liv] Briggs, 113.
[lv] Yoram Barzel, A Theory of the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 201.
[lvi] Weber, “Politics as Vocation”, 25.
[lvii] Sharyn L. Roach Anleu, Deviance, Conformity and Control (Sydney: Longman Australia, 1995), 15.
[lviii] Gary T. Marx, “The Engineering of Social Control,” Policing 1, no. 47 (2007): 51.
[lix] John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, ed. Charles W. Eliot (P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14) Vol. XXV, Ch. 2.
[lx] University of Virginia School of Law, “The Force of Law”.
[lxi] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Social Norm,”.
[lxii] Fletcher, 21, 22, 26-28.
[lxiii] Barzel, 57.
[lxiv] Barzel, 57-58.
[lxv] Dennis O’Neil, Socialization (Palomar College, 2011).
[lxvi] McDavid and Harari, 109.
[lxvii] Morris, “State and Coercion”, 41.
[lxviii] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Social Norm.”
[lxix] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Social Norm.”
[lxx] McDavid and Harari, 110; Fletcher, 21.
[lxxi] McDavid and Harari, 110; Fletcher, 21.
[lxxii] McDavid and Harari, 110
[lxxiii] McDavid and Harari, 165.
[lxxiv] Gillian K. Hadfield and Barry R. Weingast, “Law Without Coercion,” 3-4.
[lxxv] Marshall Cavendish, Sex and Society (London: Cavendish Square Publishing, 2010), 575.
[lxxvi] Cavendish, 575.
[lxxvii] Robert J. Franzese, Herbert C. Covey and Scott W. Menard, Youth Gangs (Charles C Thomas, 2006), 170-180; Rob White, Youth Gangs, Violence and Social Respect: Exploring the Nature of Provocations and Punch-Ups (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 8-16.
[lxxviii] Fletcher, 23.
[lxxix] Werner Reiss, Performing Interpersonal Violence: Court, Curse and Comedy in Fourth-Century BCE (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012) 379-380.
[lxxx] Fletcher, 25.
[lxxxi] John Sugden, Boxing and Society: An International Analysis (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996), 66, 67, 182.
[lxxxii] Fletcher, 29-30.
[lxxxiii] Anleu, 17.
[lxxxiv] C. Daniel Batson and Nadia Y. Ahmed, ‘Using Empathy to Improve Intergroup Attitudes and Relations’, Social Issues and Policy Review (2009) 3(1): 141-177.
[lxxxv] Peter Singer, ‘The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle’ New Internationalist (April, 1997).
[lxxxvii] Joshua Krook, Us vs Them: A Case for Social Empathy (Createspace, 2014) 1-5.
[lxxxix] Ibid; Perdue C. W, Dovidio J.F, Gurtman M.B, Tyler R.B ‘Us and Them: Social Categorization and the Process of Intergroup Bias’ (1990) 59 J. Pers. Social Psychology 475-486;
[xc] M.L. Hoffman, Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2000) 20-30.
[xci] Gert, Radzik and Hand, 71.
[xcii] Briggs, 113.
[xciii] Leanne Alarid and Rolando del Carmen, Community-Based Corrections (Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2008), 235-237.
[xciv] Alarid and del Carmen, 235-237.
[xcv] Alarid and del Carmen, 235-237.
[xcvi] Robert Tumeth, “Is Circle Sentencing in the NSW Criminal Justice System a Failure?” (June 7 2011).
[xcvii] ‘Ahimsa,’ Encyclopedia of Brittanica (2015) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/10041/ahimsa