“The stunning news that the United States may be the most surveilled society in human history has opened a fierce debate on security, privacy, and accountability,” says Timothy George in today’s column. “It has also brought about an amazing and unpredicted political realignment, at least on this issue.”
Persons of faith should be deeply concerned about the current surveillance flap not because privacy is an absolute end in itself but rather because it points to and safeguards something else even more basic and fundamental, namely, human dignity. According to Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, real dignity requires that human beings “should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by sense of duty.” Such responsible freedom is the basis for both the establishment of friendships and the maintenance of family life. Without the possibility of non-coercive self-disclosure, which is vitiated by unfettered intrusion, such relationships are fatuous.
Read the full column here.