Forums > Social Discussion > "You have nothing to fear if you're innocent"

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:So the above line is used to justify countless invasions of privacy. Now, clearly the very point of privacy is that one should not have to prove ones innocence.

But at this point, I become at a loss for words. Can someone please offer me a CONCISE rebuttal to the above statement? (Yes, I'm in a debate on another board)


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:Even the innocent may be fearful of those that have no respect for justice.

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coleman
coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay
Member Since: 29th Aug 2002
Total posts: 7330
Posted:edit: that comeback rocks patriarch - far more concise than this lot below! hug





tell that to this lot frown



its a nonsense statement anyway.



it should surely read "if you're innocent, you have nothing to hide".



i think everyone would agree that the criminal justice system (whether in the uk or the us) is fallable.



if the onus switches from proving guilt to proving innocence, when the system fails, rather than a guilty man going free, an innocent man goes to prison.



many, many more people would be convicted of crimes that they had nothing to do with as they may only have circumstantial evidence to offset the assumption of guilt.



that's clearly the reverse of fair and just treatment - unless of course one takes the position that its better to imprison an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free... umm





cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:Is your position in the debate that we possess a moral right to privacy that should not be violated, or that invasion of privacy is merely something that could be abused in the wrong hands.

My previous post assumed the latter.


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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well, both, Patriarch. With any moral argument comes practical corollaries. And verse-visa.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Patriarch917
Patriarch917

I make my own people.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Member Since: 2nd Oct 2005
Total posts: 607
Posted:I ask, because one position rests on the idea that the means justify the ends, the other says that the means are wrong regardless of whether the end is good or bad.

Most would agree that the power to invade privacy could be abused by those with evil intentions. One need merely appeal to well accepted ideas such as "power corrupts" or "government is a necessary evil in order to show that governments have a tendency to abuse power, and there is no shortage of real life examples. Thus, you can concede that invasions of privacy can be a good thing if done by the right people for the right reasons, but that you fear that neither the reasons nor the people will be right.

In this argument, you do not say that invading privacy is wrong. Rather, you can refer to it as being a morally neutral tool, such as a hammer. A hammer, when used by a good man, can be used to build a building. The power to invade privacy, when used by a good man, can be used to prosecute the guilty. On the other hand, a hammer can be abused to whack people on the head, and invading privacy can be abused to prosecute the innocent.

In other words, you claim that the ends justify the means, and predict that the end will be bad.

On the other hand, it is possible to take the position that invading privacy is wrong, no matter what the purpose is. You could say that it is not a neutral tool like a hammer, but is always wrong to use it for any purpose.

You could compare it to witchcraft (in the minds of some). It doesnt matter to some whether you are using witchcraft to try to help someone, or hurt someone. The end does not justify or condemn the means the means are wrong themselves.

In order to hold this position, one must identify a source of moral authority which condemns the means themselves apart from the ends.

Likewise, to condemn the actual act of invading privacy in and of itself, you must find a source of moral authority that says it is wrong apart from whether the outcome is good or bad.

This is a delicate task. While the U.S. Supreme court has discovered a right to privacy in the constitution, it would hardly do to look to the government itself as a source of rights. If the government is the source of rights, then the government can also take them away.

What you would need is a source of rights apart from the government. In America, the function of the government is not to give people rights, but rather to secure the rights that people already have. If you can show that a right to privacy has been given to the people from somewhere, you can demand that the government act to secure it.

If you choose this route, I would be curious to see whether you can find a right to privacy, and where you might think it comes from. I have no opinion as to whether it exists or not, because Ive never cared to research the subject. Im not a very private person, and so have almost no personal investment in the outcome.

Could you send us a link to the debate you are in? I would be curious to see what choice you make, and how it turns out.


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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Well the debate is an old one. It's about random bag searches on the MTA subways.

My argument is that the right to privacy exists partially to prevent the government from prosecuting victimless crimes. Suppose it's illegal to own pink fluff. Now, pink fluff is a harmless substance, but for whatever reason, the government is viciously opposed to the stuff. (This is a more cut-and-dry version of the drugs debate).

A search-and-seizure amendment would serve to make it virtually impossible to enforce a law banning the possession of pink fluff because unless someone starts stroking their pink fluff in public, nobody has any way of knowing that it's in someone's house or backpack or pocket.

But without such a law, then the police could just bust down anyone's home or search anyone's bag and confiscate their pink fluff and send them to jail for possession. Thus, my view is that such laws search to make it technically difficult for "victimless" acts to be criminalized.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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alien_oddity
alien_oddity

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: in the trees
Member Since: 31st Dec 2004
Total posts: 7193
Posted:*takes a deep breath......................*




BABLYONspank


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NYC
NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA
Member Since: 26th Aug 2001
Total posts: 9232
Posted:"Innocent until proven guily" ?

Random bag searches are essentially asking you to prove your innocence.

Dunno, that was kinda from the hip.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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ickleMatt
ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.
Member Since: 4th Apr 2006
Total posts: 242
Posted:"You have nothing to fear if you're innocent"

A statement that is liable to bring out the paranoid monster in many.

It also doesn't take into account the massive social benefits and successes that peaceful civil disobedience has brought (see civil rights movement). It totally devalues the idea of struggle - the interplay of ideas between the perceived right and its opposition. Sometimes it is 'right' to be less than innocent.

The statement: "You have nothing to fear if you're innocent" is effectively an apologist argument for the status quo, and is antithetical to progress.


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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:It's perhaps also worth reflecting on the fact that, in the UK, there have been two shootings of suspected terrorists who were actually totally innocent.

One of those was the Brazilian guy who was shot in the head around six times.

Ultimately, serious police attention is cause for concern even for the innocent, because it's not actually innocence that protect, but whether you're judged to be innocent, and many people have been judged to be not innocent and, later, that judgement was discovered to be incorrect.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted: Written by: OWD


One of those was the Brazilian guy who was shot in the head around six times.



Try 11 times. One of them missed and went into the train wall, the other 10 bullets went into his head and upper torso.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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polarity
polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1228
Posted:More like "You have nothing to fear if you're ignorant". The two are confused far too often.

The innocent/ignorant generally have much more that they should be fearful of, as they are the ones who are more easily exploited and used. The innocent/knowledgable end up paranoid.

It's extremely convenient how John-Charles DeMenezes was wrongly killed in such a violent and media frenzy inducing manner, at about the same time as all the conspiracy theories kicked off in the news, about missing CCTV tapes, travelling time/CCTV inconsistencies for the bombers, blast patterns that placed the explosives outside the trains, and stories that security was reduced because agencies were actually running a 'mock terrorist event' at the time.

If you don't fear the repercussions of comitting a crime, then there is little to stop you from doing so. Therefore "Having nothing to fear" if not implying guilt, implies the probability of becoming guilty.


The phrase "You have nothing to fear if you're innocent" is essentially 1984 style Orwellian doublespeak, as it is completely untrue.


If guilt is greater when the crime was knowingly committed (such as in cases of pre-meditated murder), doesn't that make innocence greater if a crime was knowingly not committed? Hence a totalitarian state not wanting you to commit "thought crime", as you would have a better understanding of what crimes are possible, including the ones perpetrated by the state.


You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

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TinklePants
TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr
Member Since: 3rd Jul 2005
Total posts: 4217
Posted:I believe the only TRULY innocent people are babies. Even young children learn how to lie and twist things for their own gain!

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted: Written by: polarity


The phrase "You have nothing to fear if you're innocent" is essentially 1984 style Orwellian doublespeak, as it is completely untrue.

If guilt is greater when the crime was knowingly committed (such as in cases of pre-meditated murder), doesn't that make innocence greater if a crime was knowingly not committed? Hence a totalitarian state not wanting you to commit "thought crime", as you would have a better understanding of what crimes are possible, including the ones perpetrated by the state.



*head explodes at the thought of newspeak being used as an everyday language*

double plus good smith!


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:ubblol ubblol ubblol

(I know it's not useful, but I found it funny)


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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