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Responsible use of technology => freedom?

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memenode's picture
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Wouldn't it be correct to assume that responsible use of technology equals use of technology in a way that doesn't disrupt freedom (so it empowers everyone rather than empowering a minority at the inevitable expense of everyone else)?

Part of the reason I'm asking is that even as I established that a vision of the world set in front of Libervis Network, as it's most general goal, is a world in which technology is used in a responsible way, I still somehow draw a direct parallel between that concept and freedom.

In essence I'm already equating freedom with regards to technology as an outcome of its responsible use - and therefore the goal that we pursue by promoting responsible use.

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Both posts +1. The word

Both posts +1.

The word responsible can mean very different things to different people, because we use it to describe a state or behaviour which is in accord with our individual value system. Some people label the Fed bail-out of Bear Stearns as responsible, others label it as irresponsible.

In the libervis network I'm guessing at least the core value of optimal freedom will be implied when the word responsible is used in official material, while it's accepted that individuals engaging here will hold variously diverse views on its meaning. I feel a metaphor coming on - most agree on the headline, but differ on some of the fine print, which is of course one source of the discourse here.

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True enough. It's

True enough. It's interesting that you say "responsible" is defined differently depending on ones value system, because the word can apparently imply a variety of different kinds of responsibility depending on the context, not just an individual value system. Just look at wikipedia page.

One context of responsibility which I wanted to point out in this post is that of the saying that "With great power comes great responsibility.". As I was pondering this, I thought about the difference between "power" and "freedom" and concluded that both imply a degree of power, only "power" includes both power over yourself and others while "freedom" includes only power over yourself.

And when you couple responsibility with power then it follows that power can be a responsibility over both yourself and others while freedom is the responsibility for only yourself. And I at this point believe that nobody should have the power over others while everyone should have complete power over themselves: freedom. The reason is simply because I see this as the only way a balance between people can be reached. If everyone is equally free then everyone is equally powerful and equally responsible for themselves individually. On a scale of a society this means that the society is, by being just a consistence of these individuals, responsible for itself.

And that's where I begin to see the relation between responsible use of technology and freedom. It is only a society of fully, equally and self-responsible individuals which can therefore be fully responsible in the way it uses technology - because by being responsible for themselves individuals will not want to have a disruption of balance which gives them the power over themselves: freedom.

And if the general goal I set for Libervis.com is the ultimate achievement of a world where technology is used in a responsible way, one which preserves freedom of all individuals then the above described society is what becomes my goal.

That's where "the catch" comes in. The above description fits my newly found worldview which negates government, as an entity which gives individuals power over others rather than ensuring equal freedom of all, as a part of the society being described. Bluntly said, I find myself almost incapable of holding a view of the society which uses technology responsibly as anything else than a non-governmental free market society.

And that is obviously a view that some on this site will not agree with. I suppose, however, that as strongly as I may believe in my definition of the society which uses technology responsibly and therefore my way of achieving it, others may have different ideas of it. And that's where democrates, your quote comes in:

democrates wrote:

In the libervis network I'm guessing at least the core value of optimal freedom will be implied when the word responsible is used in official material, while it's accepted that individuals engaging here will hold variously diverse views on its meaning. I feel a metaphor coming on - most agree on the headline, but differ on some of the fine print, which is of course one source of the discourse here.

Exactly.

But it is still an interesting position which I find myself in. Smiling Depending on how strong my conviction is I am at moments tempted to exit this temple of thinkers and ride into the sunset in pursuit of my newly discovered ideas - leave behind the think tank and go on a total campaign of spreading the idea of a government-less free market society.

On the other hand, I think this is unlikely to happen - at least the "leaving the think tank" part (as the campaign may very well happen). I should stay and invite others to this place and keep challenging my ideals in the fires of converging thoughts.

All in the name of freedom, as I see it, and freedom, as you see it.

Edit: Basically the choice is between making this site a community of holders of a particular view or a community of holders of different views, but the same *general* objective that is found in freedom unharmed by use of technology. What I am a bit afraid of about the latter is that it would be *too* general to attract enough people, too broad to motivate meaningful association, and that this may be the cause of its failure.

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From that wiki page you find

From that wiki page you find a proposal to augment the east coast statue of liberty with a west coast statue of responsibility. The photos of the prototype look good, though a bit impersonal (this is more to my liking), The page of most interest describes the freedom equation:

Quote:

Freedom stands ready to endure as we embrace responsibility alongside of liberty. Individual responsibility, family responsibility, community responsibility, governmental responsibility, corporate responsibility, institutional responsibility – all these segments of society need a massive visual reminder of the role that responsibility plays in maintaining our freedom. What better country in the world to make this statement than the United States of America? America, who has fought for her own freedom by declaring our liberty from would-be oppressors. What better time than now, as creeping, cancerous issues begin to fray even the edges of our own freedom. And what better bold and visual reminder than the 300 foot Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast of our country that will stand as a “bookend” companion to the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of our country!

The perpetual existence of children, the elderly, the sick, the partially abled, predators, psychopaths etc means we let people suffer if we don't accept any responsibility beyond ourselves or are unwilling to intervene. Add in constraints of personal capacity, space, time, survival needs, the commons, etc. and what we end up with is a balancing act. Many people live by a few rules of thumb, the "keep it simple stupid" brigade, at least they get things done, not always the right things though. Others get caught in analysis paralysis, trying to solve everything prior to action, hence they get stuck in a rut. This is another either/or error to me, the answer is parallel threads of action and reflection to deliver continuous improvement.

Countless times we've seen people who siezed upon one principle and sought to live by that alone, they tend to be marked out as extremists. The convenience and sense of certainty is seductive, but coming up with a universal principle is always going to be problematic, there are countless dilemmas in practice so I believe no single sentence or formula will ever be fit for use as a universal problem solver. The good news is that each of the 6.7 Billion of us doesn't have to solve everything, individuals or small groups can make great headway in specialised areas for personal and collective benefit.

Arthur C. Clarke expressed an anxiety that the internet posed the risk of a single idea sweeping across the globe, understandable given his living memory of nazism, stalinism, maoism etc. I have more faith in modern people though, education and open discourse has taken us far beyond the masses of sheepish drones of latter years. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance though, and the biggest danger we face is totalitarianism, be that overt or covert, governmental or corporate.

People taking more personal responsibility is a good thing, but I get suspicious when certain proponents only give mention to individual responsibility, while their prime campaign focus is on getting rid of organisations of collective responsibility. I agree that those organisations, governments and corporations alike, are in dire need of reform so that they don't operate to advantage a few or prevent people from helping others. I don't think they'll ever be abandoned, the only way that could become a better option is if the masses are already well practiced in taking personal responsibility, otherwise it's Lenins famine again, abandoning one system before another is ready to take its place.

For those who want to get rid of government, practiced mass personal responsibility is a pre-requisite. A crafty campaigner might only pay lip service to reform of corrupt government, for fear of making it work and reducing the case for abolition, the sly strategy is to deliberately leave it rot and label it unworkable. Then there's the wealth concentrators who do the corrupting, they don't want government of the people, by the people, for the people. They want either government to administer on their behalf, or no government so they're free to predate. Strange bedfellows indeed, and I appreciate you have the best intentions.

We may differ on the organisations and laws that may exist at some point in the future, I'd campaign for reform while you might campaign only for abolition since calls for reform may imply acceptance, fair enough. I think we've a strong overlap in promotion of personal responsibility which suits both world views, and is served by the think-tank here.

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Alright, first of all, let's

Alright, first of all, let's just state the obvious. We disagree on some things here and that is fine. We have enough in common to keep the discourse going and cooperate on things in which we do agree with.

That said, I'll respond to a few points.

democrates wrote:

The perpetual existence of children, the elderly, the sick, the partially abled, predators, psychopaths etc means we let people suffer if we don't accept any responsibility beyond ourselves or are unwilling to intervene.

I agree. This is to a fair extent consistent with my worldview. The difference is, I believe this responsibility should be exercised voluntarily and based on individual's own judgement rather than under coercion and imposed conditions of the government. Furthermore I think this, voluntary-based, action is more efficient and therefore more helpful for the needy. Please note that when we talk about self interest the sense of caring for other beings is actually included - because caring for others makes us feel good about ourselves - and this is a feeling most of us want to pursue.

democrates wrote:

The convenience and sense of certainty is seductive, but coming up with a universal principle is always going to be problematic, there are countless dilemmas in practice so I believe no single sentence or formula will ever be fit for use as a universal problem solver.

I agree here only to the extent to which this makes me be open minded enough towards the refinement of a given set of principles I believe in. We should never assume universal principles as absolute and say that there is no way this could ever be found to be different. We do our best. However, I wouldn't go so far to claim that there are no such things as universal principles. Nature shows otherwise - there are certain laws which truly are universal, at least in the pocket of universe we are living in.

We might not know some of them yet, but we can never be certain about whether we really do or don't - we can believe in what currently makes best sense and pursue that - which is exactly what I'm doing - if I never was doing anything upon my beliefs I would indeed trap myself in an analysis paralysis (because I would always seek new knowledge and never actually try to apply it).

democrates wrote:

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance though,

Speaking of "universal principles" that is one which I am beginning to doubt. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance". Isn't this so only because our freedom has never so far been complete and there was always someone overhead that had the capability to take it away - so we always had to watch out, be vigilant? Indeed. I would rephrase that. Vigilance is the price of attaining freedom - responsibility is the price of keeping it - which also fits with the equation of liberty as being a consistence of freedom AND responsibility.

I should be vigilant and much more, as long as my freedom is not complete. But once I do attain it, nobody but myself will be responsible for letting it go away because nobody but myself will have the power to take it away without me mistakenly conceding to it. Therefore the only one, in a truly free society, which I have to be watchful of is myself - and that is a given in self-responsibility.

democrates wrote:

and the biggest danger we face is totalitarianism, be that overt or covert, governmental or corporate.

Corporations, as a form of business, exist because government instituted them. The existence of "Inc.", the corporation, is a direct result of government intervention. In a real free market corporations would not exist, only individuals doing business. An individual could own a "name" as a company and contract the use of this name to other individuals as his employees or business partners. But this mess with limited liability (which deliberately decreases responsibility of a business person for his or her business actions) and corporations with shareholders - I am against it - they are NOT a free market phenomenon - they are a government instituted disease.

So.. indeed.. that's the danger we face, as long as we put our trust into government (a power concentrator itself) and government instituted power concentrators we know as corporations. My opinion, of course. Eye

democrates wrote:

People taking more personal responsibility is a good thing, but I get suspicious when certain proponents only give mention to individual responsibility, while their prime campaign focus is on getting rid of organisations of collective responsibility.

The "collective" you are speaking about is not a single entity. It is a consistence of individuals. So isn't a collection of self-responsible individuals a self-responsible collective already? It's funny how mind plays trick on us. We talk about "society", "collective" and "common good" as if it is something external to ourselves, as if we are not already in it - and based on this false thinking begin to assume that we somehow need to sacrifice ourselves for that collective.

It's like cutting your perfectly healthy finger in the name of making your body healthier. Does not compute.

I just don't wonder anymore why is our society so full of problems like poverty, crime, depression, economic instability etc. - we keep boycotting ourselves in the name of making our condition better. All the while the real parasites are thriving on this evil (I think you know who I am referring to here, look above. Smiling ).

democrates wrote:

I agree that those organisations, governments and corporations alike, are in dire need of reform so that they don't operate to advantage a few or prevent people from helping others.

I no longer believe in this reform. And can you blame me? Reform is all you hear about when talking about improving our condition, yet where is it? How much longer do we have to wait for that copyright reform, for instance? It's just ONE set of laws! Decades? I find government, as a coercive monopoly, to be corrupt by nature - it concentrates power and therefore attracts corruption prone power hungry people to it, much more than people with genuine care. And even when someone with genuine care does get into the government, it usually does not take too long for them to be corrupted as well - it's just the way this entity works. They themselves will tell you that, once you're in the club of course.

democrates wrote:

I don't think they'll ever be abandoned, the only way that could become a better option is if the masses are already well practiced in taking personal responsibility

About the "ever" part, I'll just say "never say never".

About practising personal responsibility I can only agree. In fact, I don't believe a government should be abolished when the majority of people still believe they need it. All they'll do is just set up a new one. Change comes in the mind. Only when a sufficient amount of people believe they do not need a government and that freedom and personal responsibility are good for bettering their lives, can we establish a society that exists and works without a government.

The process of spreading this idea has already begun and I've chosen to participate in it, rationally of course (meaning, for example, that I wont try to establish an opinion monopoly on Libervis.com about that - I'll use separate web sites and leave Libervis.com as a place for diversity of worldviews - and in fact encourage this diversity).

democrates wrote:

We may differ on the organisations and laws that may exist at some point in the future, I'd campaign for reform while you might campaign only for abolition since calls for reform may imply acceptance, fair enough. I think we've a strong overlap in promotion of personal responsibility which suits both world views, and is served by the think-tank here.

Agreed. Nicely said.

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