Paragraph : Persuasion and Force

Persuasion and Force

It is not altogether true that persuasion is one thing and force is another. Many forms of persuasion, even many of which everybody approves, are really a kind of force. Consider what we do to our children. We do not say to them : “Some people think the earth is round, and others think it is flat; when you grow up, you can if you like, examine the evidence and form your own conclusion.” Instead of this, we say : “The earth is round.” By the time, our children are old enough to examine the evidence, our propaganda has closed their minds, and the most persuasive arguments of the Flat Earth Society make no impression. The same applies to the moral precepts that we consider really important, such as “don’t pick your nose” or “don’t eat peas with a knife.” There may, for aught I know, be admirable reasons for eating peas with a knife, but the hypnotic effect of early persuasion has made me completely incapable of appreciating them.
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