Sunday, February 26, 2017

Anonymity and Personal Responsibility​

Anonymity or pseudonymity do not remove the obligation to observe the Ten Commandments. From Mary Victrix:
Justice is not optional under any set of circumstances, though weighing the competing interests at hand may not always be easy, and men of good will may disagree over their solutions.  There are legitimate reasons to protect the identities of whistleblowers, who otherwise might suffer from the unjust use of power.   On the other hand, every man has a right to his good name and to have his accuser take personal responsibility for his potentially life-harming assertions.

All the legitimate advantages of anonymity and pseudonymity do not trump the demands of justice:  neither the benefit of the information democracy nor the breakdown of discipline within the ordinary structures of society nor the fact that some people (certainly not all) tend to discount accusations that are made by unidentifiable persons.  The argument that drastic times call for drastic measures is consequentialism.  Catholic bloggers who make it their business to defend the faith all know that for a human act to be morally good, it cannot fall short of goodness either in intention, object or circumstances. If the means we use to obtain an end are bad, then the act is morally wrong.

An analogy to anti-discrimination laws does not hold precisely because of the demands of justice.  The protection of individuals from unjust employment decisions, for example, is not comparable to the expectation that bloggers identify themselves when they freely choose to reveal information that could potentially ruin the good name of someone else.  It is a strange inversion of the burden of justice that seeks to defend the “right” of some to destroy others’ reputations against the right of every individual to protect themselves from their attacker.  The question of who is right or wrong on a particular matter under dispute is not this determining factor.  A man holds his good name in possession. (Read more.)

No comments: