If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.Read the whole thing. This is an excellent column, and it's related to something I was trying to say here. In Brooks's list of what Snowden betrayed, there is:
This lens makes you more likely to share the distinct strands of libertarianism that are blossoming in this fragmenting age: the deep suspicion of authority, the strong belief that hierarchies and organizations are suspect, the fervent devotion to transparency, the assumption that individual preference should be supreme. You’re more likely to donate to the Ron Paul for president campaign, as Snowden did....
For society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures. By deciding to unilaterally leak secret N.S.A. documents, Snowden has betrayed all of these things....
He betrayed the Constitution. The founders did not create the United States so that some solitary 29-year-old could make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed. Snowden self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else.That's related to something I said in the comments on that earlier thread, here. A commenter, gerry, had said:
Humanity tends to be cruel, selfish, and morally confused and weak. If geeks save our asses from collectivists and power vampires like Obama, it likely will be an accident, with all the attendant unintended consequences.And my response was:
See, that's the kind of thought pattern I suspect is developing out there in the minds of these computer technicians. Look at the contempt, the grandiosity, and the recklessness.
Obama was elected, twice, by the American people. We studied him. We listened to him. He is surrounded by advisers and checked by Congress and the press.
[It's absurd to think] that some self-appointed altruist of the computer-fixated kind is going to save us.
It's like those movie trailers... in a world where etc etc ONE MAN...
You think that's what will save us?!