The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

[Due to re-structuring of this discussion, you may have come here expecting the 4F Mission Statement ]

[The justification of the 4F Mission Statement has been removed from this discussion, so it is no longer tagged PCD, or Protected Core Document]

This is a description of a strange and very rare type of explanation or model we use, called the SRS or Self Referencing System.  As the qualification of two of the 4 Freedoms in our Mission Statement is actually one of those SRS, I have given this fuller explanation of these strange beasts here.  It may or may not help, depending on how much other Philosophy or Mathematics you already know.

I've glossed many points for brevity, so mathematicians & physicists please bear with me.  

Also, there's a painful ambiguity in the English here.  When I use the term 'argument' in this forum, I'm referring to an object passed as a parameter to a function, I'm not referring to the process of reasoning and debate.

(a) You can have functions that operate on other things, like: f(a, b) = a+b

(b) Then you can have functions that invoke themselves from within the body of their definition, passing a modified form of the parameter.
Like (for positive n):
oddeven(n) = { if n<2 then return n else return oddeven(n-2) }

(c) Then you can have even more complex functions that in some way can allow themselves to be passed as parameters to themselves. This only works where you have some kind of 'cheat' in the system which allows an object to function in two different types (a bit like the fallacy of equivocation, but applied to types).
 That is, they not only invoke themselves from within themselves, but they also pass themselves (that is, the body of the function) to themselves as a parameter (as distinct from just passing a modified form of the original parameter as a parameter, as in case (b).

Type (b) and (c) produce strange behavior.

So far I've identified 10 different types of SRS.

1. Self Referential Statements
I am very grateful to the Maverick Philosopher for his elegant delineation of 5 classes of self-referential statement.

2. Russell: the set of all sets that don't contain themselves as members

e.g if you take from every public library its card index, then make a set from those, you have such a Russell set, because a library index does not contain itself as a member.

Here a 'set', which is based upon the 'membership' property, starts to play around with (i.e. take as a parameter) the membership property itself. Then you get strange results (which can be fixed by using 'types' I think).

3. Godel’s Theorem of the provability of all of an axiomatic system (e.g. arithmetic)
Here you define a statement S (encoded in a number) saying "sentence S' cannot be proved to be true in this axiomatic system", then feed the sentence (S) itself as a parameter (S'), and you get a contradiction. This shows, I think, that the laws of arithmetic are not provable within that system - sorry, this is just a very glossed summary.

4. Turing’s Theorem of program termination
 Here you create a computation engine WillTerminate(p) to evaluate whether or not a program p will terminate. Then feed the program itself as a parameter (substitute WillTerminate for p). It is not possible to write a WillTerminate program, because if it was, a contradictory result would be produced. 

5. Computer Operating System - Boostrap
When you construct a computer operating system, you do it in perfectly formed layers, like an onion.  Then, when the O/S starts up, it first installs the innermost core of the onion, call it L1, then the next layer which depends on it, call it L2, then the next layer which needs L1 and L2, called L3, then the next layer which needs L1, L2 and L3 - called L4.

You want to make these layers as small as possible, because that way you can clearly see the dependencies, and have a better chance of getting it right.

The first layer, L1, needs to have the function "load in a layer", and therefore has to loaded by a different method, obviously, because it can't load itself in - that would be a self-referential function that recurses indefinitely.

This process is called "boot-strapping", because the operating system seems to be picking itself up by its own shoe laces.  It isn't, of course, such a thing is physically impossible.  What it is actually doing is picking up successively more complex layers of functionality in a carefully ordered manner on the dependencies, which gives the impression of lifting itself up by itself.

In other words, computer scientists solved this SRS problem of creating a computer program which can somehow "give life to itself", by making a series of successively programs, which successively give birth to more complex offspring, starting with a very dumb parent, and ending with the full blown operating system itself.

6. Physical Universe: The Original Cause
The cause or explanation of an event, is given by modelling it to something outside the description of that discrete event. For example, we can describe this event:

  • 2 hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom combine on ignition to give heat and water

The explanation of this event is by mapping it to a model using the valency of the electron orbit layers around the nucleus, as given by the periodic table.  Well, we didn't refer to valency or the periodic table at all in describing the event, so the explanation of the event is in terms of things that lie outside that event.

In the case of the Universe, the latter is taken to be everything that there is.  Hence it is not possible to explain its first cause by anything we can know.  In terms of the big bang, this isn't a problem, because time does not start running till the big bang, so no explanation is required by science of what happened prior to it.  As human beings, we may not feel the same though  :-)

In theology of course, the solution is to posit a God that lies outside the universe as we know it, then it is God that created the universe.  That is just another way of acknowledging the SRS problem. Of course, I haven't added any new knowledge here, I am just noting that this is another instance of an SRS.

7. Mental Universe: The Ontological Understanding of our World
The classic ontological problem of what is the world tends to view it as either all physical (there is no mind), all mental (everything is a dream) or a Cartesian split of physical and mental, with further subdivisions possible.

Ignoring all these divisions for a moment, we can say for sure that we experience thoughts.  That data can be conveniently labelled as 'physically based' or 'mentally based', irrespective of the model.  For example, even if all of life is a dream, we can still conveniently label within that dream, parts which are pseudo-physical and parts which are pseudo-mental.

The point is that, that is all we experience, by definition.  Therefore, since an explanation of an event has to lie by modelling it to something outside that event, it will not be possible to explain or model our universe of experience, because there is nothing outside that experience to model it to.

8. Language: The Explanation of Modelling and the Meaning of Meaning
Cases 6, 7 and 8 progress thru successively more abstract levels of analysis: physical, then mental, then language.

Cases 6 and 7 may look similar but they are not.  For example, a very young child may not be able to speak, but could still wonder, and try to understand, what on earth she is seeing thru her eyes or hearing thru her ears.  Therefore, the problems of what language means, come later.

We have already explained that we understand things by mapping them to a model, or modelling.  Well, I don't think its possible to actually explain how modelling actually 'explains' something.  We can draw diagrams and say "See! Its like this", but we can't go any further.  To do that, we would have to start modelling the act of modelling, and we've got an SRS again.

We get into similar difficulties if we try explain what "meaning" means; it is unashamedly another SRS.

So the explanation of modelling, and the meaning of meaning, are both self referencing systems.

9. Definition of the Institutions of Secular Democracy
Here we are concerned with are the founding principles of our democratic system. Please note that these systems are constructed in layers, in just the same way as the bootstrapping method of starting a computer operating system.

The flaw is that we have defined a secular democracy in such a way as to allow it to be destroyed from within, because in trying to make it as 'free' as possible, we have allowed the freedom to operate of forces that cunningly want to destroy it. So why did we bother with the definitions in the first place?

The correction, as with the preceding examples of SRS, is to start to take account of some of the properties of the parameter in the definition of the function, to limit or correct the behavior of that function itself. 

So we need to say:
(a) Any speech is allowed, except that advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms
(b) Any party is allowed (to canvas for election), except those advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms.

10. The Enlightenment, as the replacement of tradition and precedent by reason

It is argued that Conservatism is bad because why should we be held back, and cultural norms be dictated by historical traditions and conventions? The enlightenment was the time when man learned to reject every idea - no matter how traditional or widely accepted or respected - if it cannot be justified by reason.

<-- That enlightenment idea itself is a product, or even accident, of history. The only justification you can give for using reason as the basis of construction / de-construction of your culture and traditional ideologies, is that it is a 'reasonable' thing to do. But that itself is a circular argument, and hence must, according to reason, be rejected. You yourself have to rely on simple assertion to get your entireideological structure started.  In the end, your choice of reason, is as arbitrary as humanities common choice of  marriage as the basis of society. In fact, it is even more arbitrary, because it has not been arrived at by a process of testing, trial and error, over thousands of years, in the way that so many of our cultural traditions and ideological conventions have.

© Alan Lake 2012

Tags: 4F, Functions, Justification, Mission, Referential, SRF:, Self, Statement, and, of, More…the

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Replies to This Discussion

I've also got a nagging suspicion that special relativity is an example of an SRS as well.  For example, bats and submarines sense the world around them by using sound waves.  Well, it works fine for them, but it wouldn't work for a jet traveling near Mach 1. 

So normally we use light waves to sense the world around us, because effectively, in our normal world, its readings are instant, so the speed of the objects doesn't distort our measurements.  Well, it works fine normally, but as the objects start to travel near the speed of light, the Newtonian equations have to have Relativistic corrections.  So maybe this means that we can only accurately measure things with a velocity, as long as we use a wave form with a speed far in excess of that velocity.  I'm not sure and I haven't time to check it out though.

Generic Method of Handling all SRS

So now, lets step back a bit and look at the properties of all these self referencing systems, and how they are 'fixed. 

  1. A function F is defined for a primary purpose P. (The function can also be a statement, which is designed to establish a primary position, so the effect is the same for the Maverick Philosopher's statements as it is for functions).  F may also have secondary purposes as well, later on, but it is defined for a primary purpose.
  2. Some of those functions, say SRS, can also call itself, and pass itself as a parameter
  3. For SRS, the case of self-reference (i.e. when it calls itself passing itself as parameter) must be identified and handled in a different manner
  4. The condition of handling must be just that which is necessary and sufficient to avoid SRS defeating P.

So, for example, in the Maverick Philosopher's (MP) delineation of the grades of self referential inconsistency, he has picked out just those 5 type of self referential behaviour in statements which are necessary and sufficient to cause inconsistency.  From those, it is clear how to fix some of them - that is, you just try avoid those types of self reference, or qualify them out of the statement.  For example his class 2 example:  "All generalizations are false" can be  fixed by adding on a condition giving the revised form: "All generalizations are false, except this one".  I'll call this statement MP.SRS2 as I'll use it later. (In case you're wondering, the class 1 of his statements can't be fixed, because its not generic enough).

In the case of Russel's set paradox, the problem is to do with the lack of an object type, and collecting together things which don't belong together, (even though they seem to be similar).  So we then need to find just those necessary and sufficient conditions to 'tame' our handling of these sets.  We don't go overboard and 'ban' all sets which are collections of other sets, and we don't under-react and just ban all sets which are collections of library catalogues, as that wouldn't be sufficient to fix all the possible problems.

So in our final case of the 2 freedoms of Secular Democracy, what are the minimum necessary and sufficient conditions to apply to the case of self-reference, to stop it from defeating P, its primary purpose?  That is to say, what are the minimum conditions to apply to Free Speech and Democratic Elections to stop those freedoms being used to defeat or destroy those two freedoms themselves (the primary purpose)?

And the answer is as stated previously:

(a) Any speech is allowed, except that advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms
(b) Any party is allowed (to canvas for election), except those advocating the extinction of these 2 freedoms.

I'm sorry to labour the point, but it is crucial to the survival of our democratic system, and because it is very complex, its easy to wander off onto diversions, and this is my attempt to fix that.

Essentialism is the supposedly false belief, that all things that are assigned specific categories by us, have some common qualities.  Thus, it would be essentialism, to say that all women have something in common, by virtue of which we classify someone as being "a woman".

Essentialism is also an SRS, but one without any escape method, or way of fixing it, so it is not fixable.

The end result of anti-essentialism is that you have no language.  Well, you can make private grunting noises to yourself, but a "private language" isn't a language since it doesn't communicate to anyone else.

The key defining principle of language, without which it cannot even start, is to recognise common characteristics or properties or features, between different objects or actions or processes.  Thus if I see two tall 4-legged neighing things that run fast, I might start to make the sound "horse" when I see them.  When I see a horse on two occasions running, I can articulate "horse running" the 2nd time, then its up to you to notice the parts of the language that are the same, the parts that have changed ("running" has been added), the part I'm pointing out that is common, and the part that is different. Then you coalesce those bits of information to decide that the sound "running" means (encodes) the action of running.

That whole process was obviously an Essentialist one.  Without it you have no common language.  The response to the Anti-Essentialist is to say

"Why are you here then? You need to leave this discussion now.  You have no common language with which we can communicate.  You should go home now and talk to yourself in your private language."

So the response to an anti-Essentialist is very similar to the response to the vehement cultural relativist (e.g. the spineless Feminist that says FGM is ok for Muslims because its part of their 'culture'). The response to them is:

"Why are you here then? You need to leave this discussion now.  You have no common values which anyone can use as a foundation for working towards some sort of agreement, understanding or compromise. You should go home and hope that nobody with a radically different world view kills you on the way there".

The assertion of the anti-Essentialist position is, fundamentally, an Essentialist statement (because they are looking for common properties in the actions of other speakers in order to label them as 'Essentialists').   So they are using the belief they reject, to try assert what they believe in.  Its so pathetic.  They repudiate language itself, and contradict themselves.  Can you get any lower?


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Mission Overview

Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them. 

At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.

Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.

We need to capture this information before it is removed.  The site already contains sufficient information to cover most issues, but our members add further updates when possible.

We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.

The 4 Freedoms

These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 
1. SP Freedom of Speech
Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms
2. SP Freedom of Election
Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms
3. SP Freedom from Voter Importation
Immigration is allowed - except where that changes the political demography (this is electoral fraud)
4. SP Freedom from Debt
The Central Bank is allowed to create debt - except where that debt burden can pass across a generation (25 years).

An additional Freedom from Religion is deducible if the law is applied equally to everyone:

  • Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"

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