The social arrangements that produce responsibility are arrangements H that create coercion, of some sort. Consider bank-robbing. The man who '<2 takes money from a bank acts as if the bank were a commons. How do ¡^ we prevent such action? Certainly not by trying to control his behavior ¡2 solely by a verbal appeal to his sense of responsibility. Rather than rely £ on propaganda we follow Frankel's lead and insist that a bank is not v a commons; we seek the definite social arrangements that will keep it from becoming a commons. That we thereby infringe on the freedom
-o of would-be robbers we neither deny nor regret.
The morality of bank-robbing is particularly easy to understand be-§ cause we accept complete prohibition of this activity. [...] But temperance •¡5 also can be created by coercion. Taxing is a good coercive device. To "g keep downtown shoppers temperate in their use of parking space we introduce parking meters for short periods, and traffic fines for longer ones. We need not actually forbid a citizen to park as long as he wants to; we need merely make it increasingly expensive for him to do so. Not prohibition, but carefully biased options are what we offer him. A Madison Avenue man might call this persuasion; I prefer the greater candor of the word coercion.
Coercion is a dirty word to most liberals now, but it need not forever be so. [...] To many, the word coercion implies arbitrary decisions of distant and irresponsible bureaucrats; but this is not a necessary part of its meaning. The only kind of coercion I recommend is mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon by the majority of the people affected.
To say that we mutually agree to coercion is not to say that we are required to enjoy it, or even to pretend we enjoy it. Who enjoys taxes? We all grumble about them. But we accept compulsory taxes because we recognize that voluntary taxes would favor the conscienceless. We institute and (grumblingly) support taxes and other coercive devices to escape the horror of the commons. [...]
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