Several years ago I wrote an article entitled: Robespierre, Julian Assange, and the Tyranny of the Individual. This is a follow-up to that article.
It is pure irony that a grandfather, Thomas Huxley, of the modern enlightenment’s core ideologies; Darwinism and Atheism, should write the following:
No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still the less superior, of the white man…It is simply incredible [to think] that…he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites.
Yet the justification for Huxley’s beliefs are the same as they are for many other men alive during his era: He was a man of his time. He simmered in the broth of his culture and therefore could not help but to take on its taste. As far as I know Huxley’s books are still in the libraries of many major universities.
The fact is, we all have views that we believe would offend the majority of the world. I certainly do. Who among us would want our most private conversations broadcast to the world for no other reason than because someone else was angry with you? Not for matters of national security, or to bring justice in the case of criminal activities, but merely for spite.
The case of Los Angelas Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s leaked conversations with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in which Sterling demands that Stiviano not be seen in public with black people and that she cease publicizing photos of she and black men on Instagram. The nature of his comments predictably drew great outrage from many, and Sterling was fined $2.5 million by the NBA. He may be forced to sell his team.
But for all the outrage about NSA activities. and the dread possibilities of metadata collection, there seems to be little concern about situations in which individuals have been materially harmed by vindictive private individuals or organizations who use political correctness to punish or even gain an advantage in law suits.
Nor is the much discussion that the media breaks the law by printing or displaying classified materials, but the government is too scared to prosecute. Apparently we elected the NYT to decide what should be classified or not. It’s all for the good of the people I’m sure, nothing to do with the Left’s much maligned profit.
Brendon Eich, chief executive of Mozilla stepped down from his position after it was revealed his donated $1000 to Proposition 8, the proposal to ban gay marriage in California. The IRS “inadvertently” released a list of names of those who supported the bill with money, though the information was available publicly before that, as the LA Times created a searchable data base. If Eich is basically punished for his donation, does this mean that people who voted for Prop 8 should be targeted? It’s all for the public good when the media does this sort of stuff, and materially harms people, but when the NSA does it during the longest period of American war, it’s looking for your porn.
Then of course there was the Mel Gibson ordeal, in which his wife, Oksana Grigorieva taped Gibson during an argument in which he makes an ass of himself. Of course, millions of dollars were at stake Having been a cop and grown up in the real world, Gibson’s statements during a domestic argument didn’t shock me all that much. I’ve seen otherwise perfectly sane men lose their minds over domestic issues. I don’t recommend it. But there is something unseemly about taping someone you’ve been close to only to release their cherry-picked statements to the mass media. It these recordings were only for self-protection, or to catch someone planning or talking about a crime, it would be understandable. But this is plain spite and evil.
The laws about private citizens recording other citizens differ from state to state. In some states, both recorded parties must be aware the taping is going on, while in others only one party need be aware. I personally think that both people should always have to know unless a disinterested judge finds a reason that there is sufficient need for a secret recording. If we worry about the government doing it, we should also worry about the potential abuse by millions of citizens.
Besides that lesson, if you’re an older man with millions of dollars, and a much younger woman who spends too much time on her looks takes a sudden interest in you, you may want to think twice.