Re:Feeling Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)
by imsmith (239784) on Monday March 28, @12:05AM (#12062484)
Privacy is not the diametric to freedom, it is a freedom.
Privacy is the freedom to control access to information about yourself and your behavior from those who you would rather not know it because it is embarrassing, incriminating, or simply against your wishes.
Freedom is not synonymous with an open society either, in fact an fully open society is the least free (libre) arrangement of human interaction because there isn't any haven from the will of others to impose themselves or their ideas upon you. No thought may go unchecked by the group, no dream unconfirmed to the mores of the society at large.
You cleave to the idea that there is the 'truly moral' while simultaneously evoking that the 'government is us', which I find a little silly.
If the government is in fact 'us', then the tyranny of the mass is reason enough to demand and safeguard our privacy, and insist on something less than an fully open society.
If there is a 'truly moral' way of living, then there cannot be a government of the people, for the people, and by the people because it would imply either that this moral truth is known by people, thereby rendering moot the need for government at all, or that in the absence of this knowledge personally, the collective acts of a nation can be somehow conformed to a superior standard of conduct, which betrays the notion that the people are self-governing, since they do not possess the knowledge of the moral truth themselves and are instead being governed by the ideology that is external to them.
It is a logical fallacy that we are somehow "safe" from a sub-set of the population that is opposed to a particular behavior or belief and is empowered to act with authority to eliminate that behavior.
There is an enormous difference between what is moral and what is legal. Legality is the thing of government and of power. Morality is the thing of humanity and of ethics.
What is criminal today can overnight become legal, and vice versa, simply by the caprice of a majority of 538 human beings in the District of Columbia. That isn't a complaint, it is a fact. To live under the illusion that you aren't potentially a target of someone's bias, prejudice, or ideological action is really pretty foolish.
I'm sure that few people in the Arab-American or American-Islamic communities realized they would become the enemy, subject to seizure, torture, imprisonment without charge, and social stigma simply for the way the looked, who they spent time with, the books they read, or the location of their religious centers on September 10th 2001. They likely felt just as most Japanese-Americans did on December 6th 1941.
Just because what you do is "what everyone is doing" doesn't make it morally OK. It makes it popular. It was popular to ignore the Nazi rise to power and the lynchings in the deep south and the Inquisition, too. None of those are considered morally OK. Morality, when viewed through the lens of history, generally is the opposition to power being abused, not the tacit acquiescence to brutality.
Living a life shrouded in secrecy isn't an un-free life if you are doing it because you choose not to share the intimate details of your life, not because you have to. Living a life under surveillance and scrutiny by anonymous actors who believe they are above reproach and constantly on the lookout for any small breech of one of a myriad of civil and criminal laws that no one can abide by is not freedom. When everything is a crime and the enforcers pick and choose to whom and when the law will apply, that is not government by the people. When you think that what you are doing is truly morally OK, and that the government will never think you aren't, you are living a life that is not free.