The question of liberty, control and censorship

Using choice expresses liberty rather than censorship.

Amber my garden fox enjoyed the liberty of choice to come and go from my garden, but there are conditions, such as not eating the cat.

Amber my garden fox enjoyed the liberty of choice to come and go from my garden, but there are conditions, such as not eating the cat.

Because Facebook is happy to host content involving the torture of animals I closed my Facebook account, a subject I wrote about on Liberated Way here and here.  Paul Handover of Learning from Dogs indicated he was closing his Facebook account over the content on animal torture on Facebook, and said why in his own article, suggesting readers might consider doing the same thing. Patrice Ayme in his WordPress article condemned me and Paul Handover as supporting censorship by closing our accounts with Facebook, which brings me to my views on censorship, liberty and control.

Censorship is an action associated with the filtering or blocking of information of any form.  Censorship is a tool, it is neither good or bad, but people use censorship for beneficial or harmful purposes.

As an individual I am making no attempt at control of Facebook, neither telling it how to behave or what to moderate.  I am invoking the liberty of personal choice to disassociate myself as a consumer or user of Facebook because its policy on showing content of animal torture are against my personal values.  I and my corporate business has policies that reject association with those that mistreat or promote animal mistreatment.  Paul Handover and others like him have their own reasons for closing their accounts with Facebook, but they are all invoking liberty of personal choice.

The individual has two key powers of change in this world, one is by setting an example, the second is by making active choices of what we will support.  Those people or groups with no support die, the power I and others invoked by choosing to close our accounts with Facebook weakens it, and if lots of users abandoned Facebook then it will panic and consider a change of direction.  Taking responsibility and making positive choices as to what the individual will support is liberty instead of censorship.

My business has intervention policies which means it does not intervene in forcing control on individuals, groups, communities, corporates or nation states, but it will invoke choice never to associate with them if they for instance mistreat animals or indigenous people such as the Sami.  The policies form a business contract with my suppliers, investors and customers so that they are clear in their minds that in order to do business with me there are values I expect from them.  In the same manner Facebook could change its terms and conditions to ban content of the torture of animals; rather than a form of censorship, the users agree a business contract before posting to Facebook so they understand in order to use a business service that such content is unacceptable. Potential customers of my business retain the liberty of personal choice, if they mistreat animals they will have to go elsewhere to do business, I do not control anyone, they agree a set of values in a business contract or don’t do business with me.


15 responses to “The question of liberty, control and censorship

  1. Well said Alex.. and I am in full agreement about it being a personal choice.. So pleased I never joined FB.. 🙂

    • I think you made a wise choice avoiding FB Sue 🙂

      • For reasons Alex I have seen how it destroys families.. was the main reason.. Another reason later I was pleased I had not joined were their copyright laws, saying they owned what you published.. Even though I have lots of family and friends on there.. I will not join.. And so pleased my instincts were correct to stay away.. 🙂

      • I was also concerned about their hubristic claims ove my personal intellectual property and personal information, which is why I limited what I published there during my six months on FB.

  2. Beautifully expressed and precisely the form of words I wish would have come to me when I was searching for an appropriate reply to Patrice over at my place. Thank you for the mentions.

  3. Book Hypocrisy @ Face Value
    Sue is so pleased she never joined Facebook. I guess she does not particularly fancy the Arab revolutions. What about a geo-historical perspective, ladies and gentlemen?

    I joined Facebook early on, but then I observed it seemed to be more about sex, narcissism, and various obsessive-compulsive disorders in slightly deranged people who believed that a picture of their pet canary drinking was world news. So I ignore it, in spite of entreaties by some individuals who said I should advertise my work on Facebook.
    But I spite the thing, all the more when I saw celebrities, or plutocrats connected to IT get 60,000 “friends” on their first day on FB.

    Then there were a number of local revolutions, culminating with the “Arab Spring”. That definitively changed my mind. If “social networks” could be used for revolutions, they were good.

    What did the Social Networks do? They disseminated information. In other words, the truth. That’s good.

    Some will say that could be done through other tribunes. Indeed, I sent articles, or comments to more established electronic media: the Huffington Post blocked me after 6 (completely innocuous) comments. It probably read my site, found I detested plutocracy, and barred me.
    The “European Tribune” was even more blatant. I was actually physically threatened there, and banned the same day… for alleging that some big bankers had supported Hitler. The site manager told me many bankers were reading the site, and he was told to shut me down.

    For similar economico-political reasons, the New York Times has censored more than 1,000 of my comments, and ponders every single one, sometimes for more than 12 hours, before publishing them (thus insuring no one reads them, while claiming they did not censor)

    At least on Facebook, I am free to rant about plutocracy, and was never blocked.

    Of course FB is despicable. If one publishes a picture there of a bare breasted statue, 2,000 year old, like the Venus de Milo, they will close the account.

    Yet, by closing it for puny reasons, you close information, even revolution.

    1.3 BILLION people are on facebook. How many people are on my site? Maybe 60. How many people are on Paul + Alex? 2,500.

    Puny reasons? Of course. It’s even worse. It’s hypocritical. Not just ineffectual. I was watching a line of people around city blocks, 5 abreast, at 7 am, anxiously waiting for the latest iphone.
    Thousands of people. Some had spent the night, waiting for the latest gimmick. All on Facebook. How does the iphone, or, in general, smartphones work?
    With Coltan. Where does much Coltan come from, keeping the prices low? Congo. Illegally. Thank the dictator of Rwanda, Kagame, and his Anglo-Saxon puppet masters. Never heard of him? Indeed, not a kitten.
    Five million burned kittens? Will you close the smartphone account? Vote with your pocketbook?

    No, stand reassured, good people. Only 5 million dead Africans, and counting (although Obama has started squeezing Kagame, out of Congo, under French and UN pressure). With the full complicity of Susan Rice, national Security Adviser (and a long story all by herself). Too complicated, too dreadful to consider? Back to kittens.

    And let’s not forget to protect the kitten burning maniacs, by protesting the showing of their pictures in the social media.

    Hypo-Crisy means criticizing less than it deserves. Yes, FB is terrible, yes they are hypocrites, yes, the plutocrats associated to Facebook ought to be in the 99% tax bracket. Yes, indeed. But the average guy who lives off the cell phone like a leech, to save ten bucks, has collaborated with the death of millions.

    And how did the collaboration start? By refusing to get the information. All burning kittens, 99%, and then making sure the perpetrators prosper on the burning kitten channel, as long as the good people persuaded of their own goodness avert their eyes, and then fork out cash for the world’s richest company, which pays only 2% tax, whereas the local bookstore, soon to burn down, from all the burning kittens running around, and the 35% tax the pro-plutocratic government insists the bookstore ought to be paying.

    All right, I will publish that on my site, and I’m very rushed, for the rest of the day, so it is what it is.
    Contradiction/comments are welcome.
    Patrice Ayme

    • Hi Patrice, thanks for your comment.

      When I used Facebook I modified my settings that only “friends” could see it, and those “friends” had to be known to me and be involved in the creative industry in Colchester. Had you posted to FB people like me would never have seen your post, because of their settings and as Facebook deliberately places limits on how far posted information will be read, because they want you to pay for more people to see your information.

      The part played by FB in the Arab Spring is in my opinion overrated. If anyone thinks that organising with their fellows a revolution in a nation through FB is safe they are seriously misguided, as 1. FB works closely with intelligence agencies; 2. FB can be hacked 3. FB has and does give personal information over to the authorities. FB is a gift from god to spys and tyrants, since all the so-called revolutionaries can be identified and monitored through their FB postings.

      FB is drowning in junk information to the point that most people never read others posts, they are too busy posting rubbish nobody will ever read.

      The only reason FB allows you to post controversial content is that it is unable to cope with the huge daily volume of verbose vomit that gets pumped into its servers, and it is likely most people will never read it.

    • Patrice, I have carefully read your comment twice hoping to distill the essence of your words. But I cannot.

      However, as I see it, it is very simple. Alex and I are not engaging in censorship by choosing not to remain FB subscribers. We are engaging in free will. Nothing more; nothing less.

      I struggle to associate your reply, seemingly written in haste and with feelings to the fore, with the actions that Alex and I took. FB and anyone else can publish it all and go to hell for what’s it’s worth.

      Alex and I choose not to read or view it. Just as Alex and I, and your goodself I don’t doubt, choose any number of actions in our lives.

  4. Pingback: Book Hypocrisy @ Face Value | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

  5. Alex: I am not Facebook expert, and I had no idea that FB limited how far information can travel, except if people pay for it. I will look into that (low priority).

    FB changed the way they operate, I have noticed this. When I see the top FB people meet with the USA/France presidents, I cringe.

    I actually have written against Google long ago. I alleged long ago (15-10 years) that Google searches were extremely biased. Silicon Valley people laugh in my face, and told me I was a paranoid conspiracy face value zero twerp who never heard of thinking.

    However, the EU has made such charges in 2013, and now in 2014, is getting exasperated, as Google had said it would not do this anymore, but, apparently, still does.

    Participants in the Tunisian revolution claim that social networking worked splendidly to organize the resistance. OK, just one country where the revolution worked well.

    Still, nowadays, we get so much raw data from the Internet. Preceding Hamas-Israel war, Israel used White Phosphorus. Including on a school. Although this time it was nearly as bad, they did not use White Phosphorus.

    Well, I agree about the vomit out there. But that’s what the dogs love. How are we going to make those dogs human?

    Maybe by shocking them.

    • Shock and sensation is a common marketing tactic that individuals and groups use thinking it will gain publicity and support for their cause, reality is that people are bombarded with it to the point they become indifferent or shut it off altogether.

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