First: you misquoted me by leaving out the ", especially..." clause I added to it as a proviso. To make this explicit, that means:
(1) I think I should have the right to live my life the way I want to, regardless of whether anyone else uses any subjective or objective reasoning to determine that my choices are worse than some other choices I could have made instead.
(2) I think, based on evidence that has informed some of the choices I've made, that I've made good choices that are logical and grounded in scientific data, with an aim to minimizing the amount of harm I inflict on my environment and fellow human beings, while (hopefully...) doing my best to slightly improving the lives of at least a handful of other people whom I interact with, either socially or professionally. While I could probably *technically* save some resources by offing myself, so could just about anyone, and I don't advocate suicide. I advocate making the most of what we have, while we have it.
Even if I'm wrong about (2), I think my point in (1) is still able to stand on its own. If I sound defensive, it's because someone else, namely this researcher, has "gone on the offensive" against a certain set of characteristics or behaviors or choices, many of which match some of the choices and behaviors I see in myself. Naturally, if you do not fall within Zimbardo's tartgeting reticule, you would have no reason to be defensive. I do, and I do.
The reason I am concerned is that influential researchers like Zimbardo are able to influence public policy to a significant level, especially because he is the guy who published that seminal result about the Stanford prison experiment. That WAS great work, indeed, and insightful information about human psychology (it also did a great service by opening up a can of worms for the public and other psychologists to dig into for the next ~50 years) -- but that doesn't entitle him to start throwing people like me under the bus.
Consider the distinction between these two statements (neither of which I am implying that Zimbardo actually said; this is just for illustration purposes):
(A): I observe, empirically, that people who exhibit 'foo' behaviors/choices experience 'bar' consequences later.
(B): I observe, empirically, that people who exhibit 'foo' behaviors/choices experience 'bar' consequences later. Therefore, 'foo' is bad, and anyone who behaves like / chooses 'foo' should reexamine their life and maybe stop doing 'foo'.
The problem with (B) is that there may be countless *positive* consequences besides 'bar' (we're assuming 'bar' is something that most people would consider undesirable) that the researcher did not anticipate. Furthermore, there may be disagreement over whether 'bar' is even "bad" at all; maybe it's fine from a certain point of view. In the specifics of this situation, I feel that there's a little bit of both going on.
If Zimbardo stopped at (A), and if TFA stopped at (A), and TFS stopped at (A), I'd be fine. I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. But, not having read the actual research study, TFS and TFA *portray* it as more like (B). If that's not what Zimbardo said, then my beef is with TFA, not Zimbardo. The article definitely reads like the research identifies a societal "problem" that needs to be fixed.
Now, let me be clear. Under normal circumstances, I do not go around living my life by telling people who've made different choices than me that they're wrong, or that they're wasting resources, or making problems worse, or whatever. That's not the type of personality I have. I'm very much "live and let live". But when someone starts taking pot-shots at my choices, I feel fully entitled to rebut their arguments, and maybe even argue past them a little bit if I feel like it, because it has a very personal impact on me when someone does that to me.
In fact, even though I feel that some of my choices are objectively better than the alternatives, I am very hesitant to point out to others, normally, that I disagree with their choices. But unfortunately, when situations like this arise, I can't resist the temptation to air out my opinions, and sometimes people who fall under *my* targeting reticule might get upset. If that's the case here, I'm sorry.