The Need for Privacy

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I come to defend Dr. Rozeff, not to bury him. I read his recent privacy post and found myself nodding in whole-hearted agreement. No one has a “right” in the libertarian sense to family, or friends, or sunshine, or music either, but these are all part of what it is to be essentially human. This, I think, is the heart of the issue:

“Yes, you have a right to protect them (conversations) if you can, but what if you cannot? And should a government or police be empowered to monitor these conversations in the first place? Where is there in this statement a positive defense that we need and must have privacy or we are diminished in our social functioning, or where is it said in this statement that the government can overpower us or turn us into virtual slaves?”

We live under government surveillance of every phone call, cell-phone call, website visit, financial transaction, text sent, car trip, plane trip, bus trip, stroll outside, credit-card purchase, and eventually a model of every thought. The technology is far outstripping society’s understanding of a proper philosophy about the need for privacy as a fundamental good-not a right-but at least the need to keep government from creating even more of a Virtual Panopticon than it already has.

I took Dr. Rozeff’s essay as a challenge to think about and argue for privacy—not as a right—but to defend it from an overweening state and the “if you haven’t done anything wrong” myrmidons.

12:00 pm on December 14, 2012