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Privacy Is a Moral Principle, Essay Example

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Essay

Privacy is a moral principle which should be valued highly. “Protection of privacy is essential for the individual to develop character, personality, singularity, and strength as an individual.” (Newton 196) In order to act ethically and morally to another individual, regardless of their importance in your life, you have to act with their well-being in mind.  Ask yourself, how would I want this handled if it were me?  The ethical tradition that would be most reflective of my position is the Greek Tradition. This states, “that the only thing that is good without qualifications is a good human being, by which they meant a virtuous human being excellent in character or disposition.” (Newton 32)  Personal character shows the virtue of self and ethical practices are visible; this includes how we address privacy.

Free press is one of the founding traditions of the country we live in. News, TV, magazines all tell a story of societal events, good and bad, that keep the community informed.  Without such media, there would be a lot of circumstances that go unacknowledged.  If the government stepped in and controlled the media, there would most likely be a highly tainted version of the truth.  The people would know what they are wanted to know, even if that is void of the truth.  Defending our freedom of press to a different country is as simple as explaining the foundation for which the US was established.  Amendment 1 of the United States Constitution says that without freedom of speech, “the press could not criticize government without fear of reprisal, and citizens could not petition for social change through speech or gatherings of any kind.”  The ethical tradition that best represents this Amendment is the Deontological Tradition, Moral Law.  This states “that there is a logical system of moral imperatives inherent in the universe; that our minds are capable of understanding it; and that we are capable of obeying it.”                                 3. “Human dignity and the literature of human dignity and the literature of private property: odd as the term may seem, one’s property in one’s own dignity may be the best cognate of privacy.”  (Newton 203)  This should be an adequate guide to determine what is considered appropriate barriers. Outside of our own personal dignity, there are laws in place to determine if a person’s privacy is breached.  “Locke sets the bounds of all our senses of ‘property’. We have property in ourselves, our own minds and bodies.” (Newton 204)  Ultimately we, as individuals, make the decision for the guidelines of personal barriers between private and personal, public and private.  A barrier is breached when damage is done as a result of freedom of press.  This still relates to moral and ethical consideration when determining what private information we will use to make public news.

Hobbes’ notion of “natural rights” was considered to be self-evident and universal.  They did not have any contingency on the law, customs, or beliefs of the government.  Therefore invasion of privacy could not be considered a violation of those rights.  Locke’s notions of rights are, “God-given and can never be taken or even given away. Among these fundamental natural rights, Locke said, are “life, liberty, and property”.” (Newton 103)  He included personal well-being in property.  By this, a violation of privacy could have a detrimental affect on a person’s well-being.  Jefferson took Locke’s notion and expanded it to included “pursuit of happiness.” Locke too had used to describe freedom of opportunity as well as the duty to help those in want.  Invasion of privacy would go against the values and notions that these men believe in.  Privacy is a specific situation where ethical consideration needs to use to determine digression in what is and is not intended to be public information.

Work Cited

Newton, Lisa.  Ethics in America: Study Guide. Pearson Education, Inc. 2004.  Print.

Newton, Lisa.  Ethics in America: Source Reader. Pearson Education, Inc. 2004.  Print.

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