Pros And Cons Of Edward Snowden

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Edward Snowden, Civil Disobedience, and the “Greater Good”
The revelations brought forth by Edward Snowden have redefined the public perception of privacy in the modern era. After the publication of Glenn Greenwald’s articles in June 2013, the idea of mass surveillance has evolved from a figment of dystopian literature into a tangible reality. Ever since that original exposé in the Guardian, the debate over the whether or not Snowden was justified has been divisive. Some hail Snowden as a whistleblower, a hero who uprooted his own life in order to reveal necessary information into the public domain. Others denounce him as an arrogant, attention-seeking traitor, who compromised the security of his own country for personal attention and accolade.
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According to author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, the only way for a man to remain truly just is if he prioritizes his own morals over restrictions prescribed by the law. Therefore, civil disobedience stems from an individual violating a law he or she perceives as unjust. “Law never made men a whit more just,” wrote Thoreau, “and, by means of their respect for it, even the well‐disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.” Thoreau believed that those who respect the law indiscriminately simply because it is the law are more likely to achieve unjust ends because they don’t examine whether or not the law itself is just. Those who believe that Snowden was unjustified simply because he “broke the law” are subscribing to the same ideology that Thoreau condemns in that particular quote. Philosophers like Immanuel Kant, who, in his essay, Metaphysics of Morals, espoused the separation between legality and morality, would agree that just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it’s implicitly unjust. Thoreau, however, went even further and said: “If [the injustice] is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law,” implying that if eradicating a particularly heinous injustice requires a person to break the law they should do

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