Force (law)  

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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant." --Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945), Vol. 1 (in note 4 to Chapter 7).

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In law, force means unlawful violence, or lawful compulsion. "Forced entry" is an expression falling under the category of unlawful violence; "in force" or "forced sale" would be examples of expressions in the category of lawful compulsion.

When something is said to have been done "by force", it usually implies that it was done by actual or threatened violence ("might"), not necessarily by legal authority ("right"). For example, a person forced against their will to commit an unlawful act, which they would not have committed if not threatened, would not be considered criminally culpable for those actions.

"Force of arms" is a special case that can be an example of unlawful violence or lawful compulsion dependent on who is exercising the violence (or threat thereof) and their legal right and/or responsibility to do so.

When one citizen threatens another with a weapon without being in danger from the person he or she is threatening, this would be an example of the unlawful expression of force of arms. The same threat expressed by police officer making a lawful arrest would typically be considered lawful compulsion.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Force (law)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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