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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Edward Snowden, whistle blower

Edward+Snowden+leaked+documents+in+order+to+expose+the+PRISM+program%2C+then+fled+to+Russia
Edward Snowden leaked documents in order to expose the PRISM program, then fled to Russia

Ky. Sen. Rand Paul foolishly suggested that Edward Snowden’s “heroism” is tantamount to that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Henry Thoreau. That’s beyond preposterous. Paul might have a degree in medicine, but he apparently has less knowledge about civil rights history than a fifth grader. He has proven himself to be utterly ignorant of Thoreau’s philosophy, and King’s, too.

Snowden might well fit into the definition of a “whistle-blower,” a “traitor,” or something in between — seldom is any incident black and white. In spite of Paul’s analysis, Snowden is indisputably a coward.

King was influenced by Thoreau’s doctrine of civil disobedience. He believed that if one deems a law to be unjust, that individual has a mandate to disobey. Here’s the catch to his doctrine, though: the disobeyer has an obligation to suffer the potential punishment imposed by the state. He was no anarchist.

King’s take was that there are moral, and as the Founders’ claimed, natural laws which citizens must follow. If a person’s morals do not conform with the legal framework of a certain society, then that person can, in his own right, dosobey such law. The lawmakers and enforcers can, in the same vein, express their right to dish out the appropriate punishment for such offence. The offender must bear the judicial retribution for his offence.

The Ghandis, Mandelas, and Kings of the world did it and carried their prison sentences like a badge of honor, and this cemented their place in history as heroes for the cause of humanitarianism.

The National Security Agency’s clandestine PRISM program — sanctioned by the president of the United States — which collects billions of bits and bytes of information in phone calls and emails from supposedly non-Americans and Americans alike, may be fully, or vaguely, aware of the Constitution.

Let’s assume that the NSA’s “legal” means of operation is a divergence from the constitution or from moral, cosmic, or natural law. If an “activist” such as Snowden disobeys, she or he has the moral and legal obligation to face, if not federal, then at least the state prosecution.

King was jailed 13 times to awaken the conscience of a nation and the world, and hence he was a hero. Snowden may be and not be other things, but he unequivocally is a coward.

He sought asylum in Russia, the bastion of democracy and human rights. Go figure.