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Was Edward Snowden's choice ethical and was it based on logi

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Lauren Tinkey

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Was Edward Snowden's choice ethical and was it based on logi

Was Edward Snowden's choice to reveal classified surveillance programs ethical and was his decision based on logic or emotion?
The Edward Snowden Debate
He's a high school dropout who worked his way into the most secretive computers in U.S. intelligence as a NSA defense contractor in Hawaii. He earned a six-figure salary and enjoyed living in the scenic state with his girlfriend.
Snowden revealed classified NSA documents to a British newspaper in 2013. These documents outlined a massive effort by the agency to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually all Americans.
: He is living in Russia under temporary political asylum and has been charged with espionage and theft of government property.

Plato's Chariot Allegory
represents intellect, reason, or the part of the soul that must guide the soul to truth
White Horse:
Logic--> one horse represents rational or moral impulse or the positive part of passionate nature
Black Horse:
Emotion-->represents the soul's irrational passions, appetites, or concupiscent nature.
The Charioteer directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the horses from going different ways, and to proceed towards enlightenment.
Logical Perspective

Civil Disobedience:
-Thoreau argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.
-He contends that people's first obligation is to do what they believe is right and not to follow the law dictated by the majority. When a government is unjust, people should refuse to follow the law and distance themselves from the government in general. A person is not obligated to devote his life to eliminating evils from the world, but he is obligated not to participate in such evils.
Utilitarianism-Mill's theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number
-The public's ignorance of being tracked in order to catch more terrorists overall creates greater happiness because the US public is safer.

Social contract: Rousseau's theory that the government has authority over the individual.
-Our government has the right to decide what information they withhold from the public in order to maintain our safety.
-The government already keeps secrets from the public so why is this instance any different?
Was it ethical for Edward Snowden to make his decision from emotional goodwill?
-Putting US citizens in greater harm because less terrorists will be tracked down.
President Barack Obama insists his administration is not spying on U.S. citizens -- rather, it's only looking for information on terrorists.

-Lost integrity because he went against his initial promise to keep US secrets.
News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," the company said in the statement.

Patriotism- Those loyal to the government are opposed to Snowden's actions as they felt betrayed by his denunciation of the government
Emotional Perspective
Why did you choose to reveal the classified documents to the public?
Snowden, 29, said he just wanted the public to know what the government was doing.
"Even if you're not doing anything wrong you're being watched and recorded," he said.

"I'm just another guy who sits there day to day in the office, watching what's happening, and goes, 'This is something that's not our place to decide.' The public needs to decide whether these programs or policies are right or wrong," he said.

You're living in Hawaii, in paradise and making a ton of money. What would it take to make you leave everything behind?" he said in the Guardian interview.

"I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."- this manifest's Kant's theory of good will, which supports that Snowden has made decisions based on what he holds as moral worth
Works Cited
"Chariot Allegory." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Sept. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
"Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
"Utilitarianism." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
Yan, Barbara Starr and Holly, CNNs Matt Smith, and Holly Yan. "Man behind NSA Leaks Says He Did It to Safeguard Privacy, Liberty." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
If actions are right as they promote happiness, according to Mill's First Formula, and Snowden's actions promote happiness since he exposes the society to the truth, then his actions can be considered ethical.

If Edward Snowden revealed classified surveillance programs, and revealing classified surveillance programs puts the public in danger, then Edward Snowden is responsible for putting the public in danger.
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