Privacy Shmivacy

“Let nothing be done in your life, which will cause you to fear
if it is discovered by your neighbor.”—Epicurus

People who believe in the efficacy of “privacy settings” are so quaint and cute. It's like talking to people who still believe in the rhythm method.
People who believe in the efficacy of “privacy settings” are so quaint and cute. It’s like talking to people who still believe in the rhythm method.

The vast majority of us adhere to this Epicurean maxim—99% of the time—without even thinking about it. Ah, you say, but I’m actually shadier than you think. Really, what do you do? Smoke weed from time to time? Watch porn once in a while? Tell white lies to avoid going to boring parties? Drive too fast on empty highways? Come on, folks, honestly, get real! Many of your neighbors are doing the same stuff, and, regardless, in the grand scheme of things, matters such as these—matters of personal piety—don’t really amount to much. You’re not that shady, really you’re not; and, if you are in fact increasing the suffering of the world in some small way, the increase is in all likelihood negligible.

Fullscreen capture 2015-06-03 105545 AM
In “the good old days” when we had so much more privacy, this South Carolina police officer, who shot and killed an unarmed man, would have lied and gotten away with murder.

The same cannot be said of the power elite, nor can it be said of the poorly-paid guards that defend them: they regularly do hurtful things which cause a great deal of pain and suffering—this, quite reasonably, causes them to crave secrecy and fear discovery. They really don’t want their neighbors to know what they’re up to: because they are indeed shady—very shady, and they have a great deal to hide, a great deal more than you and me. Consequently, they need privacy far more than we do. This is made manifest day after day in the news. Consider the following four examples, chosen more or less at random, off the top of my head: the Wiki-leaks revelations; the democratic uprisings in the Arab world; the videotaped shooting of a 14-year-old boy by Brazilian police; the videotaped police brutality at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Examples such as these ought to give pause to those who keep whining and complaining about Facebook, Twitter, the internet, cell phones, government surveillance, and corporate conspiracies.

It’s true, we are entering a more public world, a world with less privacy—but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

—John Faithful Hamer

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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