| Though the question, and all responses, are old (2003), I regard this as a good question from relative newbies to O'ism. Many interpret the idea of 'force' as meaning ONLY physical force (strictly speaking, physical force attempts, re threats of using it; once a gun/knife is used to kill, well...); unfortunately, it seems that most libertarians (as well as the LP) also interpret 'force' this way.|
I see the question, at bottom line, as asking "Can the term 'fraud' properly be considered as a part of 'force,' or must it always be added as a separate category re O'ism's principle of initiating it/them, for the full meaning to be clear?" --- Correct me if I'm wrong on that re-interpretation.
A careful reading of Rand's writings show that she was primarily concerned with the idea of 'forcing a mind.' --- Forcing it to think ONLY what one wants it to, be it a belief X, or a value Y. Re a value, this usually would imply the worth of solving a problem (see Thompson and Galt,) but also can include the threat to values other than one's own life (see Galt's last private discussion with Dagny.) Overt threats are the most obvious ways to threateningly 'force' a mind, but not the only ways.
There are also the covert ones that involve manipulation of another's mind. Think of there being a 'danger' of crossing a road where rockslides often occur...but you have no awareness that such occurs. The threat is there, though you're perception of it is not. Mind-manipulation (or it's potential necessity re possible questions that may or may not be brought up) is no different. Brain-washing (or hypnosis, drug-wise or not) is the most blatantly obvious association here. But mere lying is also applicable especially re con-artists, who often set up whole 'fake' environments to lie their way through, as well to immorally 'gain' what you have...in effect, without your rationally-based permission. And those last 3 words are really the upshot of the immorality of 'fraud.' One's rationally-oriented mind must be circumvented for fraud to occur, by 'forcing' it to perceive/conceive situations as true, though the manipulator knows them to be false.
Re Wesley: right off the bat he lied, and to keep his 'ill-gotten' gains, he has to lie some more. He therewith uses 'force' but not physical...yet anyway.
Further, one can conceive of lying as never even starting off the problem. --- Let's talk about Wilma. Wilma finds an expensive ring left in her home by a visiting friend, Mary, who may, or may not, even know she lost it...yet.
Now we're talking about moral obligations re trust and respect to friends re having their permission to use what's theirs. Wilma used no 'force' as explicated above...yet. But, she now controls a situation akin to my analogy above re the rockslide. If she does not let Mary know that Wilma has it, she has to set up a 'fake/pretend' situation that Mary is not even aware that Mary's in, by pretending that Wilma has no awareness of the ring.
Wilma is using mind-manipulating 'fraud' forcing Mary to trust Wilma's acting-lies, though Wilma may never be involved in a discussion with Mary on the subject. If Wilma is prepared to actually verbally-lie, and not just act a lie, this puts Mary in the rock-slide analogy where she is in danger trusting Wilma...and never knows it.
Further, if Wilma was doing this re a stranger that was at Wilma's home-party for whatever, the stranger's trust may not be necessarily relevent, but, expectation of Wilma's respect for rights still is (hence, Wilma's moral obligations). Even the lack of attempting to contact the stranger is counting on their never contacting Wilma who is still de facto pretending that she knows nothing about the loss, and may or may not be ready to lie to keep on possessing the gained ring.
Another angle to all this is, IF the one the gain is taken from discovers that Wilma has it, and Wilma refuses to hand it over (or recompense...on the other's terms), the readiness/'threat' of physical force is inevitable to keep the item, and Wilma knows it.
Finally, sometimes Rand only used the term 'force' and other times 'force and fraud.' If 'fraud,' as I argue above as being implied, is basically coverable under 'force,' why ever use both terms at all? I'd suggest that when she used both she was merely emphasizing that she never ONLY meant mere physical force (or it's threat.)
Hope this covers some of the perplexities (which even I had to think about) re the terminologies.
(Edited by John Dailey on 8/12, 4:01pm)