Herbert SpencerHerbert Spencer, (1820-1903) British author, economist, philosopher

Herbert Spencer Quote

“A man’s liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited.”

Herbert SpencerHerbert Spencer
~ Herbert Spencer

The Principles of Ethics Bd. II, ed. T. Machan, Indianapolis 1978, S. 242-43

Ratings and Comments


David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

We have liberties? Then we also have duties and responsibilities. Freedom is not free. Yet some will not fulfill their responsibilities until coerced. And freedom is not the license to do whatever we might wish. Society does have the right to expect from each of us adherence to some code of norms, even though this will not be agreeable to all. This quote may be more applicable in some specific contexts, but as a general statement or maxim, it is arguable.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Coercion is the symbol of every tyrannical and despotic government. This is why the founding fathers hated democracy and established a Republic! How can anyone not question the coercion of the redistribution of wealth in America? Licensing? Certain taxation? It's no wonder that John Adams said that the Constitution was made for a "religious and moral people" and is "wholly inadequate" without them. Immorality is the cause of coercion - Whether on the side of the so-called "cure" or on the side of the problem -The immorality of this nation is destroying it.

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

How would you get some unwilling men to fulfill their responsibilities except through coercion? This is Planet Earth, where men do not always do what they must. Coercion is justified when the force used is used to obligate people to do what they must but will not do. Under tyranny, coercion is used to impose the will of the tyrant. Under republican rule, coercion is used to enforce the law. Sometimes the law is not moral. But we have the right to organize to achieve new legislation.

Peter, Philadelphia

Why do we assume that liberty is good? Liberty is good only for a few who are adults, but most human beings, deep down, are childlike and cannot make their own decisions without harming themselves and others. Most people can't even balance their own checkbook. Such people are coerced, not by force, but mostly by the lure of empty status symbols and sources of physical pleasure. Such people are actually coerced not because they need to be benefited, but because they have lost control of themselves

jim k, Austin

"Of all tyrannies ,a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis.

Mike, Norwalk

an accurate observation.

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