Unpalatable Alternatives

(arising from this Overcoming Bias thread)

The above link is not the first time I’ve seen people deny that a choice between two undesirable outcomes is a choice; it’s a rather common position, especially when death is at stake.

It’s clear that people want to discourage others from submitting ‘negative bids’ to force them to choose things they otherwise wouldn’t; there is a societal consensus that choices made in such conditions will be considered compelled and thus invalid, and that people will not lose face for breaking obligations they accept under threat.  At least, when people disapprove of the threats and the alternatives offered – when they don’t, the practice is just dandy.

But “my way or the highway” is offerring a choice, and so is “your money or your life”.  They’re simply unpleasant choices.  Genuinely not being offered a choice is what happens when the highway isn’t an option, and “my way” is what you’re forced to accept.


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