This seems like a useful distinction.
I would also add the case of peer pressure that prevents you from doing something (as in, "abandoning your wife and children is WRONG!" or "stealing money from your friends is WRONG!").
Which I guess you would say is "inherently a little bad, because it's coercive in nature". I'd be inclined to disagree, personally, but I know where you're coming from here.
Right. It seems like maybe the best way to draw the distinction is between permissive and coercive social pressure (although "pressure" kinda implies the coercive type, but nevermind). Both, it seems to me, can be good or bad, depending. This is a very useful distinction, though, because the permissive (positive) type is subtle and goes largely unrecognized/unaddressed. I guess this is what people mean when they talk about some practice "sending the wrong/right message"?
I guess this is what people mean when they talk about some practice "sending the wrong/right message"?
Exactly. At least I figure that's what people mean as they dig me out of the pile of bottles that I can't seem to get out from under of, as CPS is talking in hushed tones on their phone in the corner holding my baby.
Bah. You can't send the wrong message to infants! They're like little passive potatoes, and don't start learning anything until you tell them to. (We started way too early with Andrew. I'm not going to let the new baby start learning until kindergarten. Why should I teach my children? That's the teachers' job!)
you might do better to wait until their early 20s.
Well, someone has to teach them to walk before then, or they won't leave the house promptly at 18.
Ooo. Hadn't thought of that. A little expensive, but I'll take it out of their college fund (also known as my spare change drawer).
Well, a negative action is still an action -- so that's just negative peer pressure saying "you must (not abandon your family)". Or positive peer pressure can say "it's okay to (not watch the superbowl)".
The coercion present in the pressure not to steal from your friends is, indeed, a little bit bad. Of course, the not stealing from your friends bit is a whole bunch good, so in the net it's still very much good.
Heck, all of civilization is coercive to one degree or another -- it's just that the benefits so vastly outweigh that little bit of badness that it's definitely worth it and far superior to the alternatives.
But yeah, we're basically in agreement.
1) If you consider avoidance-pressure a "you must X" instance, then your initial claim that unlike "you may X", "you must X" applies even if you weren't already considering it needs to be phrased more carefully. That is, "you must (not kick your dog)" is meaningful only if you wanted to.
2) What's bad about coercion?
1) Hmm, that's a good point. Probably worth splitting out must-nots as their own category, then.
2) A fine question, indeed! I should probably answer it sometime.
Half-assed answer: it's disrespectful of other people's worldviews, which is un-Golden-Rule-ish and therefore bad. I could elaborate more, but that's the core of it, I think.
It's unGoldenRulish only if I don't want people trying to coerce me. If I'm OK with mutual attempts at coercion there's no GR-violation.
I think that if you're okay with it, then by definition it's not really coercion, is it?
Well, maybe I don't understand what you mean by coercion... which perhaps underlies my failing to understand why you consider it a bad thing.
Getting somebody to do something by force (or threat thereof)?
Well, in that case, I simply disagree with the statement you made at the start of all this, that "peer pressure [is] coercive in nature."
Peer pressure, whether negative or positive, rarely involves force or the threat of force.