On liberty and being a good neighbour


Liberty is a two-way process that exists in a state between order and chaos where everything can move, change and grow.  When liberty is nurtured and embraced, magical outcomes are possible like this sleeping fox in my garden along with my 13 growing tree saplings.  In reaching a position I have to find the natural line or harmony between too much order and too much anarchy in which everyone and everything prospers.

I am a CEO of a private company, and I am personally opposed towards too much interference by government in my business processes or projects.  I am against regulation of AI development, and I am unhappy about the UK Labour party proposals to force 250+ employee businesses to give a stake in the companies to their employees.

However, I am happy for government to regulate content on social media companies. Yet, I accept the right of a company such as Google to close the social media accounts of the Syrian government, even if these actions look like dubious acts of censorship.

My positions are based upon my love of liberty.  The private individual and private business have a liberty to be free of regulation from government apart from what is basic and essential such as paying tax, unless the activities of individual and business is causing others to lose their liberty.  I argue that liberty is a two-way process, so that if one side denies liberty to another, then all has lost that liberty.  When Elon Musk for instance accuses an innocent man of being a paedophile, he has undermined a liberty to both the innocent man, himself, and society.

In the Hampstead SRA Hoax case the medical reports of two children who were medically examined as part of an investigation into sex abuse is being posted all over the internet with their names and faces by vigilantes, which denies them their liberties of privacy and anonymity.  The internet companies either refuse or are unable to remove this abusive content from their platforms, so everyone has lost their liberties because internet companies failed to uphold the liberties of those children.  This causes me to call upon government to uphold the liberties of the innocent and regulate social media companies such as Twitter by making them accountable for the content they have been asked to remove from their platforms.

Every individual and business could see liberty as a two-way process rather than as a final state, one that is lost the moment one side denies that liberty to another.  It is about being a good neighbour to each other in choice and deed that I see how the liberties for everyone is upheld.  As an individual for instance, I am a good neighbour to birds by providing water to them during the drought, and a good neighbour to those who live next door by removing a overgrowing vegetation that troubled them.

As a CEO, I have to remind myself that my business is anchored in community and society, that what I and my business does either harms or benefits others.  I place emphasis on the meaning, legacy and impact I have upon this world through my business processes, choices and products.  As longs as what I do is being a good neighbour to community and society, I demand that my business enjoys liberty of having as little interference from government as possible. Making money is the primary goal of my business, but being a good neighbour runs a close second.

If Twitter wants to delete my personal account with them, I will be annoyed, but I will not whine about it, they are a private business, its their platform, their rules, they can do as they like.  If I had some paid contract with them, and Twitter failed to deliver their end of the deal, it would be a contract dispute, and I would take Twitter to court.  However, if Twitter is failing to remove abusive images from the platform that is hurting children when asked to do so, they are denying liberties to innocent vulnerable individuals of my community and of society, and I will want Twitter held accountable and regulated by government because they wiped out a liberty for everyone.


13 thoughts on “On liberty and being a good neighbour

  1. I like to drive very fast but the roads also have regulations based upon a consensus. The regulation of the roads constrains my liberties to prevent harm to myself and to others. In pursuit of profits and advantages people and corporations seek advantages by playing a game of hide and seek with morality(behavioral restraint) in order to accomplish there fundamental purposes! This game is being played and because it is the opposing game of regulation and punishment must be also played!
    When Twitter, Facebook and YouTube behave as censures and editors they have every right to do so, but they are also ensuring their own failure because other less restrictive platforms will inevitably emerge. Regulating ideas by any form of thought police is not the same as regulating businesses and people within a society! You’ve managed to conflate the two!

    • This is why I talk about liberty as being a two-way process existing between the two extremes of order and chaos. We both agree that regulation is necessary to limit speed on roads to ensure all users enjoy their liberties of safely travelling upon the road, this is a type of essential regulation. In the same sense as speed on roads is limited to ensure the safe liberties of all, I support the regulation of content on internet companies so that in the case of two children, they do not suffer the loss of the liberty of privacy through the malicious actions of those who use those platforms to publish deeply sensitive medical reports when they were examined for alleged sexual abuse, to ensure those businesses remove such content quickly and efficiently when asked to do so, a matter they are unwilling or unable to do at present.

      The liberty of a business to regulate anything is their choice, but market forces will as you say act as a limit upon how far they will censor. As you suggest, if a business upsets their market too much, a rival will steal their customers.

      • Partner, Liberty is a misunderstood and misapplied term used in rhetoric.
        Just try not paying your taxes and you will find just how much Liberty there is, especially people who cannot access the levers of power with money and influence!
        Liberty is a form of Liberal, a Latin term used by Ancient Rome that means “Born a free man!” This means you do not have the constraints of slavery placed on you. I don’t think you appreciate how this society actually works!

      • Robert, note I said liberty is a “process”, it is a form of entelechy, which in philosophy means something that is complete and working to completion. Liberty is not an absolute final state, but something organic and in a process of activity. Liberty therefore can be described as weak or strong depending upon how much resistance exists.

        In a state of harmony things move according to their natural state, such as bees have the liberty to go to and from their hive collecting nectar from flowers. But if there is too much chaos such as heavy rain and wind, bees have to work harder or cease to be able to collect the nectar essential to their existance. If the bees suffer too much order, such as limiting their ability to move by regulation of their entrances and environment, they again struggle to collect their nectar because they suffer lots of hurdles and jams to their movements.

        Perhaps I might describe liberty as the ability of a system to become more complex along the line of least resistance, to exist in what complexity theory calls the “edge of chaos” a state between two basins of attraction of order and chaos.

        There were times in Rome that being a rich land owner under the reigns of emperors such as Nero or Caligula resulted in their death because such emperors needed money to pay for their projects by accusing the rich “free” men of false crimes and then seizing their wealth. The rich could afford piped water in Rome, but the pipes were made of lead. The slaves might have to get water from wells and enjoy less liberties, but they were less likely killed for their wealth and less likely to die of lead poisoning. Men could have to serve 20-30 years in the legions to earn Roman citizenship. Women, however rich, had severe limits on their liberties, and a Roman father could have his son legally killed or sold into slavery. A dead person has no liberties.

      • Liberty is not a process, it’s a circumstance! A circumstance of not being owned and therefore not under the rule of an absolute authority who controls your life and death and everything in between! In fact this definition does include the authoritarian rule of the Abrahamic gods!
        Death is the ultimate freedom from those natural constraints imposed by existence itself!

      • Actually, it might be better to describe liberty as an entelechy, which is both a process and an end state, thus we are both right. Entelechy means something in the process of completion, and being complete. Circumstance is both the same as state and situation, but is an emergent manifestation of an ongoing process.

        The only authority in my opinion is nature, the sum of all things, where nothing is above, outside of or beyond nature. Thus, I only acknowledge the common patterns of nature as worth living in harmony with. Since the individual is part of and is nature, they cannot escape the authority of nature. There are no such thing as god in the Abrahamic sense.

        In terms of the self, death is a transformation. Existence and mind is an emergent manifestation of the processes of the body, another form of entelechy.

        If mind is an emergent manifestation of the physical biological processes of the body, then it ceases to exist when the processes cease motion. So that all that is left is atoms that will scatter and become something else.

        If some consider that there is a spiritual or potential side of nature, that mind continues after the death of the body, then the common patterns of nature, where all things move in cycles, suggests a process of reincarnation.

      • There are no emergent processes. The universe is a nonlinear, organic totality but the human mental tools are math and language which are linear constructs governed by linear rule sets. They are both systems of symbology all the while space is not dependent on Cartesian lines and a tree is not restricted by its name.
        Emergent properties is an admission of ignorance resulting from applying linear patterns to describe natural nonlinear patterns.
        You’re missing that if you view Liberty as an achievement that you define it as a struggle, and a struggle by definition is lack of freedom! So by struggling for it you move away from it and you are never so far from it as when you struggle for it!

      • Emergence is a process and layer where larger entities, patterns, levels or states arise through the interactions of smaller and simpler parts. The emergent level manifests properties and rules that are not apparent by examining the parts. Examples of emergence include aliveness in the body, due to the interactions of body cells, and consciousness, due to the interactions of brain cells.

        Nature and the universe is one and the same thing, which is as you say non-linear. The human brain has the capacity to think in both linear and non-linear ways.

        Science has at its command two sets of thinking tools: reductionism, which breaks systems into parts, which studies the properties of parts in isolation from other parts in a linear way; and complexity theory, that looks at the whole system, how parts connect and are related. Reductionism works well with disordered systems. Non-linear systems such as ecosystems and the brain is better studied using the tools of complexity theory.

        Sadly, many people are caught into the trap of thinking that there is only one set of tools useful to problem solving and looking at nature – reductionalism. The tools of reductionism is the only one taught in the Western education system, and the only one used in every decision making process in society.

        The arche of nature, the cause and the principle rule by which all things behave and manifest is strife, the war of the opposites. Without this struggle of opposites there is no change, no motion, no evolution. If your heart never had opposing muscles working against each other, you die. If your brain cells did not have opposing electrical-chemical processes, you would be unable to think.

        If there is too much order or too much chaos in a system, it will eventually collapse. The ideal state is to exist in the edge of chaos, a harmony between two opposites of order and chaos. Liberty can also be seen as a measure of how successful a system can behave in its environment. Systems that struggle have parts that are causing interference or resistance to its function, known as negative synergy in complexity theory. Those systems where all parts are working together without much resistance is known as positive synergy.

        As an example of positive synergies. I installed a bird box in my garden, this attracted bees, those bees pollinated the apple trees in the garden, and I had a bumper harvest. An example of negative synergies is touching hog weed sap, exposing the skin and sap to the sun, and suffering third degree burns as a result.

        Another word to describe liberty is harmony. If I train my body for a marathon, the struggle causes my muscles to develop, my nerve cells to communicate better and my blood vessles to grow. When I run the marathon race, my body, trained through the struggle, has evolved to be more in harmony with the task, and thus suffering less resistance, be more liberated in what it can do compared to the individual who runs the marathon with less training.

      • You do not control what is found inside the skin any more than you control what is external to the skin. You do not beat your own heart and you do not shine the sun. Your existence is a circumstance and your perspective is of an individual organic living creature. The universe is the ultimate indivisible atomos, it has no parts…it’s a nonlinear organic totality. What is inside your skin is an organic entity that when combined with what is outside the skin is the universe.
        Gaia theory suggests the earth is alive but this is a mistake. The earth is an organic subset of the organic totality, but neither is alive and yet both support life.
        True Liberty is to realize and accept what you are. Is it better to be happy and know you are happy or just to be happy? The former elicits harmony and harmony is achieved by non effort!

      • Nobody can achieve harmony through control, it is by knowing the parts of a system, and their relations, that the individual can leverage useful changes by changing the connections of parts and how they communicate information. I leverage change in my body to run a marathon by subjecting my body to stress through running in a manner just enough to cause the development of parts in my body.

        I believe in the paradox that the One and the Many are the same. At the top of the blog you will see a page called the Derveni Papyrus, it may interest you to read it about an alternative view of how I see nature or cosmos.

        You will have to define “aliveness” to decide if it is true or not. It might be that my and your definitions of aliveness is different.

        Common to nature is that all parts of it are random in part, they operate under their own agency. It is this randomness that causes conflicts that lead to motion, change and evolution. All things naturally move to a self-organised state that some call the unity of the opposites, a harmony.

        There is a relationship between living in harmony with nature and being happy. If I decided to build my home in place that naturally floods, then I must face discontentment that my home is flooded. If I wanted to build my home in a swamp and built my home on foundations made of alder tree wood, I know that my home would be safe in the water, as alder has properties that makes it resistant to decay and strong in water.

        The ideal of non-effort is an idealistic and unrealistic dream, society and nature gives rise to challenges each moment that requires struggle.

      • The best fitting shoes are the most comfortable. In fact good clothing is recognized by the fact you become unaware of them. The body is in harmony when you feel know aches and pain and discomfort! In fact you forget about your body when it is harmonious!
        When the mind is not disturbed by stress and discomfort, you become one with the universe! 😊 The state of effortless activity or silence!

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