When consuming the day’s news, I bet you first respond by gut feel.

Everyone does. Human are instinctive beings. Shoot first, ask questions later.

The problem with that was illustrated by the Great Pandemic Overreach of 2020-2022. Fear was weaponised and the world community fell for it.

Some people try to think. As a subscriber of Liberty Itch, you are most likely a disciplined, libertarian thinker. We fight against our natural urges to ‘let rip’ in our political response. We are principled. This sets us apart.

For libertarians to believe in a life free from coercion; to live and let live, and to respond with our minds rather than a gut-based thought-bubble, we need a tool that:

  • identifies all the sources of  power operating in our society;
  • clarifies the methods they use to erode our liberties;
  • shows how our freedoms can be protected when a power centre is neutralised by another centre; and
  • exposes how our liberties are lost when the power centres collude or are weakened.

I have that tool. It’s an infographic. I call it The Coercion Wheels.

Wheel 1 identifies the culprits: the power centres which will coerce you if given half a chance. There are ten culprits operating under two categories.

The first category is government, under which there are five sub-categories:

  1. International;
  2. Legislature;
  3. Executive;
  4. Judiciary; and
  5. Forces.

The second category is non-government, also with five sub-categories:

  1. Business;
  2. Media;
  3. Community;
  4. Crime; and
  5. Individuals.

You will see that the ten sub-categories are further divided into forty coercion culprits. These are the people or groups of people who seek to impose their will on our life and limit our freedoms. They range from the United Nations to our siblings.

To examine the detail, I recommend you print the infographic. It is written from an Australian perspective but subscribers from other countries can substitute their local equivalent for what is represented.

Forty power centres in a liberal democracy like Australia! Forty coercion culprits, each pressuring you with differing amounts of control over your life. Any one or combination of them can curtail your freedoms.

Wheel 2 shows the same sub-categories but with the coercion method used against you and your family. There are a surprising number of them, from Appropriation Increases to Denial of Child Custody, from Wire Taps to Asset Seizure, from Ostracism to Trolling. I’ve listed 103 methods used to impinge upon our rights and freedoms.

Liberal democracies like Australia work best when each power centre is subject to checks and balances by others. This neutralising effect leaves you and me less likely to be subject to coercion.

Here are examples of the checks and balances working:

  • Various churches were plagued by reports of child sexual abuse but could not reform themselves. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the investigations and final report resulted in criminal proceedings and conviction of priests, and led to structural changes in the Church. On Wheel 1, this is shown as Old Media (24), Federal Ministers (6) and State Judges (14) checking the abuse of power by the Church & Religious Organisations (26).
  • When former CEO of James Hardie Limited was banned from acting as a director for 15 years for failing to provide a duty of care with respect to asbestos diseases, this is State Judges (14) holding Large Corporations (22) accountable on Wheel 1. Another check and balance success.
  • When Political Parties (28) vie for election to the legislature as Federal MHRs and Senators (3) or State MLAs and MLCs (4), each party acts as a check on the others and helps ensure there is a balance of opinion. There are no one party states in a liberal democracy.

Sometimes though, a segment of society may be weak or unwilling to act as a check and balance. At times, a number of power centres collude. This was evident during the Great Pandemic Overreach of 2020-2022:

  • When State Agency Officers (11) and State Police (18) forced the Church and Religious Organisation (26) to shut. Australian churches simply rolled over, such was the force against them. No check or balance, with freedom to worship crushed;
  • When Old Media (24) acted as propagandist for Federal MHRs and Senators (3), State MLAs and MLCs (4), Federal Bureaucrats (8), Federal Agency Officers (9), State Bureaucrats (10), State Agency Officers (11) and State Police (18), and with no power centres in support of our rights, we lost the right to assemble, protest and earn a living. Checks and balances failed.   

These are just some examples.

If liberal democracy feels like it’s on the slide, it is because there is a blurring of interests and collusion between these traditionally separate power centres.

But there is hope.

What is Liberty Itch if not New Media (25) holding the other 39 power centres to account in a freedom-oriented, intelligent way?

Next time you consume the news, rather than rely on gut feel, use The Coercion Wheels to think and analyse. Which power centre is doing the coercing? On whom? How are they doing this? Which power centre needs to balance the coercion so you and your family are not vulnerable?

If libertarians are about freedom from coercion, The Coercion Wheels are a great tool for identifying the power centres which can act against us, the tactics they use, and why we must have them focus on each other and not us.

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