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Does end justify means?

The USA had been an example of democracy for a long time until the information that CIA controls the Internet has leaked in the Media. Of course, it's a great thing for preventing terroristic acts, but does end justify means?



Where did you get the idea that it's a great method of preventing terrorist attacks, or that it is being used for such a purpose?

Spying on one's citizens in such a manner has not, in any situation in the history of the world, been done in order to protect the citizens from foreign agents. It's always been done to protect the government from the citizens. It allows for greater manipulation of the populace, helps quash organized protests, easily silences dissidents, etc. This is an extreme and hostile offense of the highest order, and the smokescreen of it being "for your protection" would almost be comical, were it not for the fact that people actually accept and legitimize that statement. It absolutely is not justified by the end because the end is not what people think it is. It's social control, not social security. It is a horrendous assault against both the Fourth Amendment and basic humanity.

On a less vitriolic note, the applicable organization is the NSA, not the CIA (although they're definitely closely intertwined), and it's not just internet; they've got everything from all media devices against everyone. Worldwide. Also, this behavior does not technically diminish the USA's status as a representative republic (not a democracy; this is a common semantic error even by most US citizens, but the US is not and has never been a true democracy, which is actually a very problematic form of government on its own). It certainly paves the way for a more oligarchic stranglehold on the country, but as of this moment, our capacity to choose our representatives is not diminished, ignoring the fact that our choices are basically made for us by the false dichotomy of the two-party system and the exorbitant private funds poured into the campaigns. But, of course, every country has its problems with government corruption... They are, after all, synonyms.

Thank you very much for such a feedback, Grant,

It's a decent answer of the citizen of the free country.Eastern European countries had been influenced by the communist ideology for a long time. That's why that the end justifies means isn't as disgusting for us.

Kind regards.

U.S. citizens should not worry about being spied upon, unless they have something to hide.  I thought that it was a commonly known fact that all global communications could be monitored by the NSA.  I wrote about this very topic here on italki over a year ago!  Die US National Security Administration (NSA)  La Agencia de Seguridad Nacional. ( NSA )

Bull-fucking-shit, Steve. As I previously stated, spying on one's own citizens has little to nothing to do with preventing acts of violence from enemy agents. It is a measure to protect a government from its citizens.

There's a big difference between secrecy and privacy. Privacy is the ability to do things that aren't illegal without being watched. Secrecy is the intention of doing things that are illegal and attempting to not be watched. They are NOT THE SAME THING.

Secrecy. Here's an example of secrecy. A man goes onto an .onion page through Tor. He's in a community of child molesters. They spend their time devising new ways to kidnap and rape children without getting caught. He's one of them. These places exist in plentiful numbers in the Dark Web. This man, through this site, is being secretive.

Privacy. Here's an example of privacy. A woman wants to protest her state government. She feels as though they've been corrupted and have made strange bedfellows with some other random bad groups. She wants to organize this protest with likeminded individuals throughout the state, so she sends emails to a large social activism forum she's on. She has a vested interest in corrupt government officials NOT stopping her protest, which she has every right to host. She, through email chains, is being private.

When a government spies on its own citizens, privacy buckles. One can no longer protest. Civil disobedience can no longer be organized. Riot police show up to a predesignated site before you do. Soon the agents are pitting people against each other. They show up at your door. They've seen that you're a political dissident. They tell you that they've got a lot of shit on your father; if you don't stop fighting, he's going to be thrown in prison until he dies. Or maybe they'll just blackmail you instead, if they can. They blackmail you into spying on your fellow protestors. Soon the whole society is in chaos. Nobody can do anything, because they don't know which of their friends have been bought or manipulated. Nobody can organize or fight back against the corruption because they're thrown in black bags before they can make it to the streets.

THIS is what inevitably happens when privacy is violated. These citizens have done nothing illegal (until the government rewrites the laws to legitimize themselves, anyway). This has happened throughout history, and it's only become more difficult to stop as technology improves. This is what happens in China. This is what happens in Saudi Arabia. This is what the Arab Spring nations have to contend with every day. The dismantling of the right of civilian privacy is perhaps the best and most effective method to totalitarianism that has ever existed.

That you would be an apologist for these behaviors is very unfortunate. You're basically saying, "Hey, go ahead, spy on everything I do and record it forever, and do it to all of my friends and family, too, because you're just looking out for my best interest and you would never use all of this information to concoct a civil war and turn people against each other in your attempt to claw for more power and establish yourselves as an entrenched ruling class. Never."

I am astonished, Steve. Do you really don't worry that you are under the surveillance? And if democratic countries spy on their citizens, are they better than dictatorial regimes?

A few monthes  ago we found out that our goverment had a footages of privite lives of almost all objectionable people and used them to bulldozed them.

By the way, Keti, I don't think I said (and I certainly didn't mean to imply) that ends don't sometimes justify means. I'm a political pragmatist, and so many things that I consider to be personally ethically objectionable are still things I support because they've been demonstrated to have a far greater net benefit than one would get without their implementation.

What I meant by my first comment is that there is no legitimate end to justify with. It's not for stopping terrorism. It's for controlling citizens and consolidating federal power. When the means are "invade every aspect of every person's lives across the planet with absolutely no oversight or restriction or public knowledge" and the end is "use this information to create an entrenched modern aristocracy consisting of the extremely rich/influential, their political liaisons, and the shadow police that oppresses, imprisons, or kills all dissenting citizens", then there's clearly nothing remotely good to come of it. They're bad means toward a horrible end, and even if such measures WERE designed with the explicit purpose of improving citizens' security (which I highly, highly doubt is the case), they are simply too easily corrupted in a way that would bring about the first scenario.

In fewer words, it's not that I don't think ends can ever justify means. It's that, in this particular case, the ends are so heinous and objectionable in their own right that we need not even have a discussion about the means because the ends should be opposed regardless of how they'd be attained. 

Hi Grant, NSA chief Keith Alexander testified under oath before the US Senate that NSA surveillance helped stop 'dozens of terrorist events'.

NSA has never used its 'secretive' surveillance programs in order to suppress the efforts of anti-corruption watchdog organizations.  Of course, the American public would be outraged against such an abuse of power. 

I'm a little bit gullible sometimes, but I do believe that our appointed government officials who are wisely chosen by our freely elected leaders are genuinely interested in preserving public safety and national security. 


Hi Keti, I've known for a long time about NSA surveillance.  I've always trusted the Obama Administration to use this program solely for the purpose of finding terrorists and preventing terrorism.  I really shouldn't be discussing anything more about NSA surveillance, because they are now monitoring my personal communications.  ... haha

Oh, certainly. If I'm of the opinion that a large government agency has stripped clean one of the major parts of the Bill of Rights under false pretenses and unconstitutional laws, I'm definitely going to trust the words of the leader of said organization to the people who wrote the laws.

But that's beside the point, anyway. Let's say that I accept his statement out of sheer charity. They've stopped dozens of events. Okay. Fine. I have no proof of this (and necessarily wouldn't, as the statement is a null hypothesis), but I'll trust the man against my better judgement. It does not change the fact that the exact measures they used to stop these events could be easily used in the future to enact a totalitarian society.

I never said that suppressions were occurring right now. I said that spy networks against a nation's own citizens inexorably lead to such suppressions. It is irrelevant whether or not suppressions occurred under Bush or Obama; what's relevant is whether or not the new powers recently granted to the NSA would allow an enterprising sociopath, in the future, to dismantle society. I don't like to glorify the Constitution much, but its description as a series of checks and balances is a very apt one. Removing the Second Amendment in 2015 may not lead to a federal militaristic crackdown against defenseless U.S. citizens in 2015, but it would certainly make it a hell of a lot easier to do it in 2025. Removing the First Amendment in 2025 may not lead to unchecked censorship of all political dissent speech and the enactment of a fully realized sectarian Southern Baptist theocracy outlawing all other religious affiliations in 2025, but it would certainly make it a hell of a lot easier to do it in 2035.

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