Did Ed Snowden do the right thing?

Daniel Fussell dfussell at byu.edu
Mon Jun 10 19:21:08 MDT 2013

On 06/10/2013 04:18 PM, Lonnie Olson wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM, Matthew Frederico <mfrederico at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I could care less about the bible's rightness or wrongness, Jesus or
>> Mohammad.  Perhaps what we should care about is what can we do as fathers,
>> mothers brothers and sisters with what appears to be a blatant violation of
>> our constitutional rights?
> Hear, Hear!  Thanks for trying to bring this back to topic.
I don't think we were off topic.  The question is, was Snowden in the 
right.  Individuals have only their upbringing, history, and what some 
would call their "system of beliefs" to fall on when deciding if 
something is right.

Others might also include the Doctrine of Convenience as part of their 
moral compass.  It is my opinion, based on experience and observation, 
that the larger part of the security agencies, and government in 
general, rely more heavily on Convenience than anything else for their 
guiding direction.  But then, that's me leaning to history, upbringing, 
and my system of beliefs.

It is only natural that we would turn to the founding fathers for 
guidance; it's history.  Same with the Bible, it's history, regardless 
of your belief in a vengeful or caring God.  Frankly, I think religion 
is a fabulous basis for moral guidance if for no other reason than it 
relies heavily on history, belief, and upbringing.  And I don't care if 
you are Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish, or Christian; heck, be an 
enthusiastic Daoist if you like. But then, I've read enough of each to 
realize that each in turn are all basically telling a similar story and 
the same moral guidelines.  I wish more people would genuinely study 
their preferred religion; it would lend strength to the freedom of 
self-responsibility and self-governance.

If I may rely on history a little more, one of my favorite quotes on the 
subject of morality, religion, and freedom comes from Washington's 
Farewell Address:

/...Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political 
prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain 
would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to 
subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of 
the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the 
pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace 
all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be 
asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if 
the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the 
instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with 
caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without 
religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education 
on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to 
expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious 
principle. /

/'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring 
of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force 
to every species of free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, 
can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the 
fabric /

/Promote then as an object of primary importance, Institutions for the 
general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a 
government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public 
opinion should be enlightened.... /

/[From George Washington, A Collection, ed. W.B. Allen (Indianapolis: 
Liberty Classics, 1989), 521-22.] /

If all citizens were as courageous as Snowden in the discharge of their 
duties, the very power of big government would be shaken to it's core.

;-Daniel Fussell

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