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Monday, 12 August 2013

Snowden and Messiah (not linked)

Lets start with all this with Edward Snowden.

Hero or traitor? Clearly neither, possibly both.
This has rapidly become a propaganda war sadly. The US Government are branding him a 'traitor' for two reasons. The first is because depending on how you define it then he probably is, but also because they don't want people to like him and encourage such actions again.

Snowden has brought forward very serious secrets and the US Government doesn't like it (obviously). They want to nip this kind of behavior in the bud so are using a very powerful word 'traitor' to smear him and turn the general public against him. Well as much as the public as they can anyway.

It has clearly worked in the case of Dog the Bounty hunter who apparently is going to try and track Snowden down: http://www.chronicle.su/news/dog-the-bounty-hunter-to-pursue-snowden-bounty/ (amongst other sources).

So apart from the mere label is he actually a traitor?

Well it depends what side he was on in the first place. He is a traitor to the American government because he has spread their secrets and as he worked directly involved in these programs he is a traitor. He may however take the opinion that his chief loyalty has always been to freedom and to the public, in which case he is not a traitor.

I think the public needed to know about the extent of the spying. Although I, personally, agree that that level of security is needed, it would just be nice for it to be in the open. I believe in high security because I am happy to sacrifice some personal freedoms in order to feel safe, and as someone who does not intend any criminal activity, the thought of being spied on does not make me feel like my freedom is risked.

Take a teacher to a young child. The young child is playing and the teacher is watching and will only interfere if the child is going to hurt itself or cause harm to others. I like to see it like that. Having said that this is the most optimistic take, most people will probably think more sinister activities in play.

Now for this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23665106

Uh. This is a difficult one. I can't believe the judge has gotten away with changing the name on grounds that are clearly her personal religious beliefs. That is wrong. It is akin to her saying all Muslims or jews must take Christian names. A judge should be unbiased and this strikes me as not very unbiased at all.

I do however agree with her on two points, one majorly and well less so.

The first is the potential for abuse if in a highly christian area. Christians are unlikely to take the name lightly and may well insult or attack. However, this is a lot of 'ifs' and 'buts' and 'maybes'. Plus the name Jesus is commonly used in America (along with Messiah) and I can find little evidence this has happened before.

So if the move really is to protect the child from the harm of a name he did not choose then that is an understandable decision. But there is nothing to suggest harm is likely.

The second point was the idea that the word 'messiah' is a title. Like Doctor or Judge, or even 'Officer'. Well you don;t see many children called Doctor do you? (put aside any Doctor Who bias or references :p ). BUT is messiah a legally protected term? Doctor is, which is why you probably can't use it. On the other hand even with that, do legally protected titles apply when used as a name?

I'd have to look closer!

DFTBA

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