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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Individual Freedom versus Social Responsibility

Some people value the chaos of individual freedom more than the order of social responsibility and others value the order of social responsibility more than the chaos of individual freedom. Social responsibility allows large numbers of otherwise anonymous people to live in the order of a cooperative and yet still competitive civilization. However, excessive social responsibility has very well known undesirable outcomes as tyranny and political suppression.

In particular, many previous regimes have used social responsibility to justify tyranny and policies that harmed or even killed some people as long as many more people benefit overall. Mao’s famine killed over 30 million people in 1958-1961 ostensibly to benefit the much larger population as part of Mao’s great leap forward in the name of Marxism. The Nazi death camps killed 6 million Jews and others in order to purify a much larger Aryan race in the name of eugenics. Both used social responsibility to justify their malevolence and are examples of how bad people can be.

Therefore, there is a third very necessary archetype besides individual freedom and social responsibility. This third archetype is the realization of how bad people can be and that all people are capable of malevolence, including you. Civilization tells and retells a large number of stories with many different themes, but a recurring theme is how bad people can be since we are all prone to malevolence.

Two people on individual Cartesian paths exchange shine of compassion with each other and that exchange can bind those two into a relationship. Cartesian bonds, like gravity bonds, result in more determinate action with outcomes that have clear precursors.

Each person has as part of human nature both the capacity for social responsibility as bonding to an individual or group as well as the potential for malevolence, which conflicts with people. In other words, people have a certain amount of empathy shine for others and their needs as well as certain amount of selfish needs of their own to satisfy, which leads to conflict and negotiation. A person’s selfishness might not benefit and might even harm someone else’s needs or wealth and even might injure them or even take their lives. However, there are many stories about how people compete for resources with others and yet still cooperate and compromise with the overall outcome of more wealth for all.

Even though two people might not ever have equal wealth or even equal benefit from every competitive or cooperative transaction, they can still both benefit and live longer and learn more to compete for wealth as well as to cooperate and compromise. A group of people bonds with the relational shine of compassion despite the Cartesian conflicts of selfish competition. Relational bonds, like quantum bonds, result in more probabilistic action with outcomes that often have no clear precursors, only more likely ones.

It is part of human nature to compete with others for resources, but that competition must first of all involve cooperation and compromise and must therefore be fair even though the outcomes do not always have to be equal. Some people are naturally more talented than others in any given competency and so people are naturally diverse in their abilities. For example, there are only a very few people who are really very good at creating music and art and this means that, given individual freedom, a limited number of people can end up owning a large share of a population’s music and art. As a result, people can often feel envious and jealous even if the competition was fair. Further, if people acquire wealth by force or coercion and not by fair competition, those who suffer will inevitably feel deep resentment. Such deep resentment results in criminal and even rebellious outcomes and the response is incarceration of those people.

In fact, given the potential malevolence of human nature, it is literally impossible for any population to completely avoid some criminal incarceration. Incarceration is necessary to limit individual freedom just as politics is necessary to limit social responsibility. Populations with large disparities of wealth along with diverse race, ethnicity, language, and religion also have large incarceration rates as well as lots of politics to promote and limit social responsibility. All that people can ever hope to do is maintain a fair competition for resources given individual freedom and limited social responsibility to permit competitive and free prosperity while also limiting the unfair outcomes of criminality and rebellion.

Religions satisfy a basic human need for meaning and purpose and people therefore submit to the order of a particular social responsibility. Religions give meaning and purpose by retelling the many ancient stories of malevolence and thereby teach a religious cosmic order of social responsibility from a seemingly meaningless quantum chaos of individual freedom. The bonding of people into religions always involves their giving up some individual freedom for the benefit of learning the archetypes, stories, and rituals of that religion's social responsibility. In fact, all people must learn the archetypes of compassion and shame to live in a cooperative and yet still competitive civilization and religion provides those archetypes for social responsibility along with stories about human malevolence.

Today there has been a remarkable reduction in global poverty along with increases in life expectancy and education. These successes seem to have been largely driven by the rise of individual freedom along with the proliferation of social responsibility in competitive and fair markets. Although competitive markets varies widely among different politics, the one consistent factor is the incentive and pricing of a competitive market. Even countries with particularly high wealth disparities like Namibia show that competitive markets still reduce poverty while increasing both life expectancy and education.

Ever since China and India have adopted social responsibility that allows more individual freedom with incentives for competitive free markets, those economies have grown and will continue to grow and prosper. The growth of competitive markets repeats in Africa where even the most impoverished countries continue to show people with longer lives, more education, and less poverty.