Right and Wrong.

Might Makes Right.

It’s My Right!

What’s right is right…or is it?????

Last week I wrote about WikiLeaks, privacy and, as an extension, who has what right to know…anything.

Got me thinking all week about Right. Here’s the thing – Right – a fairly simple word, no? – has at least upwards of 30 meanings. See for yourselves:


Hence, my short review of a few of the phrases using the word Right. Interestingly enough, many of them apply well to the WikiLeaks brouhaha –and the general atmosphere around privacy. See for yourself:

Right and wrong is as clear of an instruction as you’ll ever get – or is it? Who determines? By what criteria? If you were determining what’s private and not, how would you view right and wrong?

Might makes right. Think about it…when I was in school, I took a course in the politics of revolution – the professor said that in the modern world, he who controls the mailing list (mailed by snail in those days) controls the revolution. Today it’s he who controls the URL and the server –The might they feel, the wrongs they believe they are correcting are heady things – enough to get their revolution started.

It’s my right!!! What is? To put other people in jeopardy? To leak that which isn’t yours – or is it? And therein lies the issue – if you believe you have the right and you can muster the might…see where I’m going here?

And, finally, what’s right is right…again only if you own the definition of right…

See how confused I’ve been all week!

Privacy, ultimately, is tangled in what is or isn’t a personal right of yours, and it’s being determined by opposing groups of people, all of whom think they have a right to the decision on your behalf.

And there you have it…others are determining your fate – time to step up and be heard.

But here is the thing. I discovered that the founding fathers of the United States were conflicted about this same topic over 200 years ago. In fact, there is so much written, I decided to choose just one quote to highlight the issue:

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have… a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
John Adams

If ever there was a justification for the leaks…there it is – scary! 

Yet, some get the bigger picture…listen: 

“The right to be alone – the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized man.”
Louis D. Brandeis

The right to be alone – the right to your own data – the right to protect your secrets; the right to protect the privacy of yourself and your family.

There you have lots of right, little wrong and a raging debate.

Where do you sit on right?

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