Command, Cozen, Or Contract?

How would you get someone to do your bidding? There’s three choices in the title – let’s see which would suit you…

a. Command

Are you in a position to force someone else to obey? Perhaps you are a military commander, or a civil leader. Perhaps you are the chief executive officer ( read: boss ) in some organisation. Perhaps you are the head of a school, or a household, or just the largest bully in the schoolyard.

If so, you may well choose to command others in whatever you desire. You may have military or civil law to back you up, or physical might, or some other way to coerce your underling. Coerce away, and force them to give you what you want.

Or…you might get what you deserve. Martinets, tyrants, bullies, and the like have featured in history when they are stabbed, poisoned, or fragged. The domestic monster may eat incautiously or fail to sleep with one eye open, and have no need of the other one ever after.

Worse. As a powerful dominator you may get grudging obedience, but never zeal or sympathy. When it all goes wrong, the women and children will be in the lifeboats pulling away from your sinking ship. And you may not be nearer thy god, no matter what tune the band is playing.

b. Cozen

If you are not strong enough to force obedience, you may be cunning enough to steal it. Deception and fraud are the weapons of the weak, but they can multiply force remarkably. They only do so, however, when applied to faulty defences. It is hard to cheat an honest person.

We see this tried in some of the phone scams that seek to find a guilty secret in the victim and then use it to establish control of them. Some people are not guilty, however, and they must be attacked on their sympathies and kindnesses. It is all the same to the scammer, of course – whether they get the credit card number from Granny or Goebbels – as long as they can spin a tale with a hook in it.

c. Contract

Well, if you cannot beat money out of people, or steal it, you can enter into business to earn it.

You have to give value for the money you seek – whether this is goods, services, thoughts, or whatever – and both sides have to agree upon the price. If you both fulfil your parts of the bargain you can both claim honour – even if the transaction is a vicious one.

The best advice to anyone who needs cooperation, money, skill, obedience, and success is to follow ( c. ) rather than the other two choices. As cold, crass, commercial, and unfeeling as it may be, a contract seen, heard, signed, and kept is the best foundation for mutual satisfaction in any venture.

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