Wednesday, 17 December 2014

What do Hacking and Torture Have in Common?

Conflicts of Interest

The moral vacuity of Unbelief has been on display in recent days.  Firstly, the prurient frenzied delight over the hacking of Sony digital property, the breathless headlines about who said what to whom (to sell more newspapers and subscriptions) and the joy in seeing senior executives at Sony shown up to be nasty little people.  Hollywood and the gossip columnists (virtually the entire media set) are all atwitter.  Yet, in the same breath said media will condemn hacking as theft and an egregious crime.  Recall the moral outrage and self-righteous fulminations of the media and the Chattering Classes at the phone hacking undertaken by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. But that was "them" not "us".  It makes all the moral difference in the world, apparently.

We have seen the same phenomenon in New Zealand.  One self-righteous moral pygmy receives stolen e-mails from notorious "right-wing" blogger, Cameron Slater and the media engage in an orgy of prurient, sensationalist twittering.  Quietly ignored is the fact they were profiting from the proceeds of a crime.  Ah, well, everyone was doing it, so we could not afford to ignore it.  The end (making a dirty profits) justified the means (exploiting stolen property).

Doubtless the media would be sniffy nosed at an individual hacking into, say, hospital patient records in the attempt to profit from their theft.  But in their own case and when it concerns their own book, they grandly ignore their complicity in crime because they tell themselves are operating "in the public interest".  Self-righteous, hypocritical mendacity. 

But crimes being committed "in the public interest" are pretty acceptable these days.
  Torture is clearly OK, as long as it achieves a greater good--that is, as long as it saves lives.  Whose lives, you may ask?  Our own, of course.  We couldn't care less about the lives of those subjected to the torture.  The end justifies the means every time.  And, naturally, we are self-referential when it comes to deciding what ends are really important and holy.  Usually they are high and exalted and lofty ideals--namely, what's best for me, myself, and MOI.

And so we come full circle.  The principals of the New Zealand blog, Whaleoil, which was subject to hacking, have now come out in favour of torture in warfare.
For squeamish people to live in their cocooned little lives where they are allowed the luxury of not having to look a cow in the eye and kill it just so they can have some steak, it is better that they leave the professional to the job of keeping them safe.  There is nothing more irritating than bleeding heart liberals declaring there should be no torture, ever.   They do so from the luxury of ignorance.  If it was their family held up in a bus that’s about to be blown up, I suspect very few would be as principled.
Hacking (us) is wrong; torture of others is OK.  Why? How come?  The greater good.  The end justifies the means, except when we become a sacrificial offering.  We would respect these amoral folk if they were at least consistent.  Yup, torture is OK for a greater good.  Yup, hacking our computers is OK as long as it's done for a greater good.  To claim to have it both ways is beneath contempt.

What about the challenge, "if it was (sic) their family held up in a bus that’s about to be blown up, I suspect very few would be as principled"?  Well, Christians would.  We prepare for death every day.  It's something the pagans just don't get.

Athanasius, who suffered and managed to live through numerous persecutions, both as a child and an adult, had this to say about Christians:
. . . men who, before they believe in Christ, think death horrible and are afraid of it, once they are converted despise it so completely that they go eagerly to meet it, and themselves become witnesses of the Saviour's resurrection from it.  Even children hasten thus to die, and not men only, but women train themselves by bodily discipline to meet it.  So weak has death become that even women, who used to be taken in by it, mock at it now as a dead thing robbed of all its strength. . . . So death has been conquered and branded for what it is by the Saviour on the cross.  It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and as witnesses to Him deride it, scoffing and saying, "O Death, where is they victory? O Grave, where is they sting?" (I Corinthians 15: 55) [Athanasius, On the Incarnation.  Translated and edited by Sister Penelope Lawson.  (New York: Macmillan Publishing House, 1946.), p.42f.]
Christians march to the beat of the Commander of the universe.  The living Lord of the heavens and the earth has forbade us to do evil, that "good" might come.  Therefore, the end never, ever justifies the means.  For the pagans, ethics and morality begin and end with their own selfish lusts.  Reasons the pagan: Is hacking (theft) good or bad?  It depends whether I will benefit from the crime.  Is torture evil?  Depends whether I will cling to my own wretched life thereby.  But Christians operate with a completely different compass:
I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Christ has freed us from the amoral self-interest which is now the beginning and the end of the West's re-emerging paganism.  

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