Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
Extortion is one of those words that immediately gets folk's attention. Extortion is coercion. When people first think of extortion, the legal definition comes to mind: price-gouging, black-mail, or to avoid negative consequences, such as euphemistic “protection,” which really means abeyance from harm, but extortion is often also part of receiving an essential service, such as a building permit or job application. In political circles, extortion is the essence of corruption, exploiting an official's position via influence peddling.
Actually, extortion is much bigger than any of that; we live in a world where extortion, don't do what I say or something bad will happen to you, is a regular part of life, especially in personal relationships, certainly within a family. The most common weapons used to extort are mocking, scorn & ridicule, plus there are less obvious extortive behaviors, such as withholding information, passive aggressiveness, and shunning. The personal aspects of extortion don't even require any real threat, only the implication. These threats may seem harmless from a legal point of view but they have a huge impact on the victim's psyche; and they obviously work, because most people will do almost anything when extorted, because life doesn't need to get any worse.
Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash
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