Respect or fear?

People comply with laws either because they respect them, or because they fear them.

Respect is intrinsic – I might not like a law, but if I respect it, I comply with it and even protect it.

Fear is extrinsic – I follow a law because I fear the consequences of breaking it. Once these consequences disappear, so does my compliance.

Of the two, respect is more efficient, robust and decentralized. Sustaining fear requires violence, propaganda and continual effort. Fear is unstable, for it might backfire is unexpected ways. Fear also crowds out and undermines respect.

As leaders, fear is what we default to. Respect is what we must strive towards.

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