Did Ed Snowden do the right thing?

Sasha Pachev sasha at asksasha.com
Mon Jun 10 16:33:24 MDT 2013

> I don't subscribe to the philosophy of 1000 monkeys pounding on 1000
> keyboards to create MS Windows.  Which is not unlike the big bang theory,
> right?


I don't either, but I see some strong supporting evidence that this is the
case :-) That is why I have not had Windows on any machine I control for
over 16 years.

Seriously, though, if God is not your source of moral authority, then what
is? How do you know it is wrong to kill, for example? We tend to take that
taking somebody's life in a non-combat and non-self-defense situation is
morally wrong, but this is not the case for everyone. Let me share an
experience I had back in 1993. I lived in Moscow, Russia at the time.  One
day I was talking to a security guard at a hotel. He observed that I was
fluent in English and asked for some things he could do to improve his. I
told him it really helps if you talk with native speakers. He asked me
where he could find the ones that were friendly enough to talk to him. I
invited him to attend the LDS church. He came.

After listening to the talks he in full sincerity spoke with me. He said to
me - "I cannot live like this. If a man stands in my way I kill him." This
guard was not just a random man - he represented millions that grew up
without the idea that there can be a firm source of moral authority outside
of themselves and their own goals. I do not believe he was a "bad guy",
although I strongly suspect he was connected - perhaps somewhat
involuntarily - to some dark circles. You just did not get a job as a
security guard at an American hotel at that time without some dark
connections. But I do believe he was a good guy that was trying to get
oriented, and he was struggling as you can see. Why? Because he lived in a
society that as a whole has rejected the idea of God-given moral compass
and tried to invent its own.

So for those that reject God as their source of moral authority - yes,
learning to feel the Holy Ghost, and learning to trust it requires a step
of faith, maybe a step outside of a comfort zone. But what are the
alternatives? If you reject God, how do you know that what you believe is
right is really right? Is it possible that you live among the people that
are deceived into believing that wrong is right, and right is wrong? Is it
possible that some evils are like a slow-acting poison, and thus will pass
the test of causing no apparent harm in the short run? And how do you
define "harm" anyway? If there is no good or evil, then no matter what
happens - pain, hunger, addiction, or loss of life - is just another thing,
neither good nor bad. You may think this train of thought is crazy, but I
am speaking from the perspective of someone who actually has lived in a
society that has suffered severe mass deception and who has had to question
every value he's been taught from birth to figure out what was wrong and
what was right.

I know what it is like to be deceived. Yet, strange as it may sound to
some, I have no concern about trusting the Holy Ghost. I know what it feels
like. There is no mistake. It is a pure feeling of perfect truth - truth in
every way - moral, spiritual, and scientific. If I cannot trust that, there
is nothing I can trust. Now, my ability to feel it as clearly as I need to
and when I need to is a different question, but it is the problem of me
being an imperfect mortal, and not of the source. So if I hear something
that does not make sense to me, I ask again to get a better understanding,
and once I know, I follow it the best I can.

Sasha Pachev

Fast Running Blog.
Run. Blog. Improve. Repeat.

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