Meditation on coercion.

The culture of obedience needs exemplars to demonstrate what happens to those who do not follow orders.

The culture of obedience is insidious. It says, in effect, “if you follow orders, all will be forgiven and there will be no adverse consequences for mistakes.” In law enforcement it even has a name. It is called “qualified immunity.” In the Catholic Church, the routine is called a sacrament, Penance. There it says, “if you confess, all will be forgiven.” What is left unsaid is that, after the forgiveness, guilt remains and that guilt forges a bond that is difficult to escape.

We talk about people selling their soul for wealth and fortune. That they might be tricked into giving it up in the name of a virtue is not often discussed.

But it is not all that strange. Think about other virtues that are turned into vices by being coerced. Think reproduction. The difference there is that reproduction coerced has a different name—rape. Or think about association, also a basic virtue. When association is coerced we call it kidnapping.

Culture is coercive. Just ask the grape vine. To cultivate a grape vine is to cut off its sprouts. To cultivate a piece of ground is to cut up and turn over its roots. We tell ourselves this is good.

Coerced obedience is not good. Because, for a presumably moral person, whose natural inclination is to do good, to demonstrate being coerced, he’s got to do bad.

You see, that is why the Creator gave man free will—to demonstrate His goodness, not power, as Satan would have Him do.

Just as the evidence of power is hurt, the fruit of coercion is evil.