Mass Surveillance and the Citizen Image

Mass Surveillance and the Citizen Image

Here I will offer a defense of the right to privacy in terms of a check on power. Mass surveillance, I contend, erodes the citizenry’s ability to maintain what I’ll call a citizen image with respect to the state, and that this is problematic even if the state is operating benevolently. When there is an asymmetry between how much the state knows about the citizenry and the citizenry about the state — such that the asymmetry is in the state’s favor — the citizenry loses the capacity to bluff the government. This allows for easier state-intervention in the citizen’s lives, which everyone ought to be concerned about. Continue reading Mass Surveillance and the Citizen Image

Authenticity, Fame, and Credentials

Authenticity, Fame, and Credentials

What I submit is that to be inauthentic is to say you care about those normatively closest to you but to act for the approval of those normatively distant. In this sense, it is to care about those furthest from you, instead of those closest. What results, I submit, is an individual who has a mismatch between his public and private images. The individual appears great to those furthest from him, but in his private image — e.g with his family — he appears poorly. Harold Langston had an excellent image with his customers, but not with Jamie. Continue reading Authenticity, Fame, and Credentials

God and Wonder

God and Wonder

If someone were to ask me why I believe in God, then, I could legitimately and confidently tell them that it is because I wonder when I look into the unknown of the cosmos, and I don’t know of any reasons they could provide me with that could override this wondrous confidence, so long as I have done my due diligence in understanding contemporary physics. I sense something majestic in the mysterious, and that is enough. Continue reading God and Wonder

A Brief Account of Honor

A Brief Account of Honor

In the United States, mere birth is a sufficient condition for citizenship, and there is certainly no requirement that politicians prove a sense of honor before being elected into power. I worry about this, though, because it is precisely when someone has no honor the governed have no assurances that they won’t use their power to trade our ends, for possession of their own mere means. Continue reading A Brief Account of Honor