Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Privacy and Freedom

Most Americans believe in the right to behave privately in ways that may not meet the approval of others. All of us have something to hide. We each have our own reasons for keeping certain aspects of our life hidden from our government, or our family, or our friends, or solicitors, or criminals, or our enemies, or just plain old busy bodies. We all have an emotional need for privacy to go along with many practical reasons for keeping some parts of our life and our past hidden from others.

Privacy is so central to who we are as Americans, the Supreme Court has ruled we have a constitutional right to privacy even though the verbiage for such a right is nowhere to be found anywhere in our U.S. CONSTITUTION. Privacy is so important to most Americans that we consider it to be an integrated attribute of our freedom.

Perhaps some of our thinking about privacy needs to change. We will always have an emotional need and some practical reasons for wanting privacy, but the real truth about privacy and freedom is the exact opposite of what most people believe. Freedom and privacy actually have an inverse relationship. As privacy goes up, freedom goes down and as privacy goes down, freedom goes up.

The more information we have, the more we are able to make decisions that reduce our risk of being able to achieve our goals and purposes. The opposite is also true, the less information we have, the greater our risk of not being able to achieve our goals and purposes. The internet has been a big boost in our ability to live freely due to the increase in good information that can be easily accessed.

As much as I like my privacy, there is nothing I value more than freedom. Perhaps all of us need to relinquish a little privacy in order to increase our freedom.

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