Proof of Brain: Freedom of Speech Musings — Sociopathy vs. Making Sense

Some months back, I read a few posts by @taskmaster4450 touching on the issue of large social media sites serving as "gatekeepers" and how we can keep our freedoms (and security of our keys) in the new world of Web 3.0.

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Since then, I have gotten to think about some of the inherent issues of our online social lives, and how to approach them.

For me, one of the issues with "freedom of speech" — an ideal we often talk about protecting — is that many people "conveniently overlook" the fact that when you grant freedom to do/have/say something, you are also granting the freedom to ABUSE that same "something." Otherwise you're essentially saying "You're free to do whatever you want, as long as it is OUR way!"

Consider a "semi-centralized" system like eBay. eBay doesn't own or sell anything; it is merely a central facilitation point that connects individual (and corporate) sellers with individual (and corporate) buyers.

In that example, eBay serves as the "gate keeper" as well as the "rules enforcer." If you engage in activity that is counter to the TOS, you can be sanctioned and or banned from using the site.

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Now, we can say that takes away someone's "freedom" by banning them... and that's what we (meaning a community like Hive) are dead-set against.

So let's say we have "freedom," instead, with our "eBay-like" alternative. Now, let's say someone makes a habit of going out and snatching babies from strollers, killing them, and selling their body parts as "delicacies" on our network.

The somewhat delicate issue becomes that of distinguishing between "Freedom of SPEECH" and "Freedom from CONSEQUENCES."

I have often observed that some of the loudest proponents of free speech also tend to be on many people's "short list" of "most likely to engage in sketchy or sociopathic business."

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One of my co-workers back in my IT days had a sign on his door that read "Silence is Acceptance." I always felt it was rather poignant.

In its strict interpretation, however, if we allow "freedom," does that also require us to stand by and "permit" Ed Bob from the example above to sell baby parts for human consumption? Phrased a little difference, does supporting freedom of speech — in fact — also obligate us to sanction/endorse sociopathy by not taking steps to stop it? And by stopping it, in fact, are we censoring someone's freedom of expression?

Alternately, does that same "freedom" then grant observers the freedom to take up arms and lynch Ed Bob from the nearest tall tree for killing and suggesting we eat babies?

Yes, it's a graphic example, and I'm not interested in getting into hair splitting over whether or not someone would actually do something that outrageous... it's an Illustration.

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Anyway, those kinds of situations have always been the point at which I struggle a bit with (absolute) "freedom," because it looks like an invitation for the world to descend into a sort of reactionary feudal chaos where everyone becomes their own law of the land, and you don't ever know for sure whether walking down the street wearing red boots will trigger someone's "freedom" to kill you on the spot because they find red boots offensive.

I'm all for freedom, but the weak point in the system always strikes me as being that intersection of true freedom with some form of sociopathy. The challenge of almost all ideals is that they tend to be proposed by well-educated thinking individuals who omit the very distinct reality that when humans are involved, you'll have your share of mentally ill psychotic freakazoids.

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Hence, we end up at a system that almost requires rules, and the moment you have rules you also have points at which someone's freedom will be limited, in some way... and some form of sanctions and/or policing the rules becomes necessary.

And no, I don't have any "brilliant solutions" up my sleeve — just opening this one up for discussion!

Thanks for reading, and have a great remainder of your weekend!

What do YOU think? How do YOU believe we can have both freedom and rules, side by side? Whose freedom should be protected? ALL people's? How do we do that? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!

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Created at 20211003 00:08 PDT

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I'm not sure how selling baby parts is freedom of speech, lol.

I think the major difference between Hive and centralized platforms is not that people can't be censored. We know they can be censored by the community with downvotes. But they cannot be censored arbitrarily by a central authority.

This prevents events like say, Twitter permanently banning Trump because the political winds dictated it. Doesn't matter if you support Trump or not, because your side could be next.

Of course, having the community decide things could also have its negative side. But I tend to trust the collective judgement of a diverse group of people on a permissionless system more than I trust the centralized judgement of a corporation.

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While I generally agree with you, I do want to point out that the 'collective judgement of a diverse group of people' doesn't really apply to HIVE either. All it takes is one whale to be pissed at you and your time on this platform will be short-lived because you'll be downvote bombed. It's not a straight up kick out ala twitter, but it's effectively the same practice.

Power, even here, is in the hands of a very small group of people.

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This is true and one of the shortcomings of Hive as it stands now. One of the main fixes for this is better distribution, which takes time unfortunately. I think other tools should be implemented to mitigate this possibility. Easy visibility to users of the "why" for a downvote, along with some way to measure the veracity of the "why" could help. E.g. all downvotes need a reason on chain. Downvoter selects "This is spam" or "This is plagarism". Other users can then see why it was downvoted and check. If a certain threshold of user verification isn't reached, the downvote is auto removed. Only works (if it does actually work) if there is no option to downvote without reason.

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I like this - but there should also be an "other reason" field which can be filled in manually. For example if a killer were to do as you mentioned, or something else illegal or extremely offensive occurred.

And let's not forget about the scammers and hackers. I think we would all love to censor dangerous content?

!PIZZA and !ALIVE

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Right, I was just making suggestions not a comprehensive list of reasons. But seriously, if there were a killer on here I think reasons for downvoting would be pretty low on our priority list. Somebody might want to call the police lol.

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I would think they would already know, but the devs should definitely be working with them. Can't hand Hive over to the serial killer types!

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I remember someone telling me about @dan 's philosophy in this central tenant to freedom some years back and the difference between the golden and silver rule. I am not sure if the silver rule is the answer but i guess Steem was an interesting microcosm of this concept playing out on practice. I bet a few people could get phds out of analysing what went down there for a few years!

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Even in autumn the leaves have a special charm

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I believe we have some differences in understanding here about what freedoms are. Freedoms are not granted by an authority; one is born with them. The privilege of expressing oneself is derived, in part, from the freedom to think and say what one wishes, but is not, itself, an unlimited freedom. Expression can take many forms, including harmful and dangerous activities, whereas speech is just that: the word, written or spoken. Just how much expression and speech overlap may be unclear; however, where speech ends is not.

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When someone's freedom causes troubles for someone else, that is easily tyranny and control. In a well balanced society things would play out well for every member of the system. The many issues with fairness and lack of consequences are deeply rooted in the moral pillars of modern society. If the foundation is not right, you can't expect the right building sitting on top of it . How could this illness be cured? Changing the pillars and this has always been a very long process as the roots are deeply entrenched and the mentality changes hard

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