Originally Posted by hamandcheese
If you want to say the 5 cent difference is on a spectrum of coercion, I'm fine with that, I just don't think its warranted much moral concern, in the same way I wouldn't consider a 5% sales tax to be very morally egregious either, especially if its used to provide useful services. This is the point I'm making.
So yes, you could consider it coercion (it's ultimately up to which semantics you choose) but I don't consider it to be immorally so. Why? Because the consequences are not having an apple, as opposed to death or alienation. And the cost of avoiding the consequences are, as you point out, extremely low.
The gist of it is to question the notion that there is the state, and then there is freedom; and to posit that non-governmental forces, including peers, can be just as detrimental to our liberty as g-men. The exact formulation of how and why this is so is of secondary importance to me.
There is a difference though between private plunder and govt plunder, which I think makes govt plunder "morally" worse. If tomorrow I'm mugged at the street corner I can try to fight back, and my act of self-defense will be recognized as legitimate by the larger society. But no one can fight back govt plunder. You might point to voting, but that's such a weak remedy from an individual point of view that it becomes almost irrelevant.
This is the point I wanted to make with supply and demand: you can call it coercion, but I don't, I call it coordination. Other cars on the road make me drive in ways that I don't like (say, make me put my foot on the breaks) but that's not coercion, it's coordination. Again, if my neighbors kidnaps me and makes me his slave, society's norms deem this unacceptable and will back me up if I try to fight back, or people will try and come to my rescue.
Likewise, there's a range of govt actions that have consequences on individuals, more or less serious. Take for instance eminent domain where private property is transferred to other private individuals on the account that they might generate higher tax-revenues. That to me is not 'coordination', in fact it's the opposite, because it crowds out the private arrangements that would have emerged if the govt hadn't stepped in.