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Old 12 Aug 2017, 10:11 PM   #675664 / #51
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I can't see that it's any worse than a Catholic confessional or a Masonic right. Stupid shit, yes, but so long as participation isn't under duress, I don't see why it should be condemned. At least it's not genital mutilation or some other shit.
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Old 12 Aug 2017, 11:34 PM   #675666 / #52
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So are you claiming that he is a "whistleblower"...
I don't recall ever having referred to Norton as a whistleblower, and certainly not in the sense you understand the word. Read my post you just quoted for what I did write.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 12:31 AM   #675668 / #53
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So are you claiming that he is a "whistleblower"...
I don't recall ever having referred to Norton as a whistleblower, and certainly not in the sense you understand the word. Read my post you just quoted for what I did write.
Well, make your own fricking points, then. I note that I was correct about your plan to critique my own answer rather than clearly stating your own position.

I do apologize for mischaracterizing the man as a whistleblower rather than a saboteur, but are you actually suggesting that saboteurs are morally commendable as long as the target deserves it, or just trying to bait me into coming to that conclusion? I'm getting tired of this coy bullshit, just say what you mean.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 01:01 AM   #675670 / #54
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He DID say what he meant, Poli. YOU are the one stuffing these goddamned strawmen. Stop it.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 01:23 AM   #675671 / #55
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Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
are you actually suggesting that saboteurs are morally commendable as long as the target deserves it, or just trying to bait me into coming to that conclusion? I'm getting tired of this coy bullshit, just say what you mean.
I always say what I mean. That you don't like what you hear, or simply don't understand what I say is unfortunate.

Now I fear that you don't know much about sabotage, so you go by today's popular take on it, where it usually involves blowing up bridges, smashing looms or doing some such damage. The word is actually derived from the French verb "saboter," which means "to walk noisily or clumsily with, or to make a loud clattering noise with, wooden shoes." Norton's videos are making a lot of noise in some sectors of the media. He is drawing attention to utterly ridiculous LDS rituals without even a hint of interference, let alone doing damage. He is recording what they do while remaining utterly passive. And he does not have to actually do anything but record what the Mormons in the higher echelons of the church hierarchy get up to. Any damage done to the LDS is caused by the rituals themselves.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 02:58 AM   #675674 / #56
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are you actually suggesting that saboteurs are morally commendable as long as the target deserves it, or just trying to bait me into coming to that conclusion? I'm getting tired of this coy bullshit, just say what you mean.
I always say what I mean. That you don't like what you hear, or simply don't understand what I say is unfortunate.

Now I fear that you don't know much about sabotage, so you go by today's popular take on it, where it usually involves blowing up bridges, smashing looms or doing some such damage. The word is actually derived from the French verb "saboter," which means "to walk noisily or clumsily with, or to make a loud clattering noise with, wooden shoes." Norton's videos are making a lot of noise in some sectors of the media. He is drawing attention to utterly ridiculous LDS rituals without even a hint of interference, let alone doing damage. He is recording what they do while remaining utterly passive. And he does not have to actually do anything but record what the Mormons in the higher echelons of the church hierarchy get up to. Any damage done to the LDS is caused by the rituals themselves.
You have not answered my question; you blustered, asked a question of your own about the Ellsberg affair (a man who btw most consider either either a whistleblower or a traitor - I've never heard him described as a "saboteur"), and critiqued my answer. I ask it again:

When, precisely, is it ethical to lie about your intentions and then disclose private information without consent of all parties?

Nor, by the way, does your etymological fallacy impress me much. What sabotage meant in 17th c. French does not trump what it usually means now.

Nor do I think it likely that the LDS is suffering any particular damage from this; if he's a saboteur, he's a pretty ineffective one. I mean, you think the rituals are stupid, but you think every religious ritual is stupid, already. I don't think any committed Mormons are going to be put off the faith by the revelation that there are rituals in it. What we have here are people being filmed and published during a private and important moment in their lives, because someone else got angry at the organization they belong to. It's not doing anything to "the church", only the people involved, who are being ridiculed for no reason other than an illegal intrusion into their lives.

Last edited by Politesse; 13 Aug 2017 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 05:59 AM   #675676 / #57
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Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
I ask it again:

When, precisely, is it ethical to lie about your intentions and then disclose private information without consent of all parties?
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Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
Revealing secrets is not automatically a good thing.
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we must make an evaluation in order to determine whether revealing a secret can be met with approval or not.
I also cited Ellsberg, Canaris and yes, Norton as examples of people that in my evaluation did the right thing when they disclosed private information without consent of all parties. It should therefore have become obvious to you by now that in my opinion activities need not be criminal in nature in order to make it rightful to disclose them. The wider context is more important, and that domain is beyond the realm of lawyering. If you disagree, give me your opinion about how it is possible to define when, precisely, it is ethical to lie about your intentions and then disclose private information without consent of all parties, when it is not, and if it is not, why not.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 12:26 PM   #675682 / #58
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Poli, would you consider Steven Fishman (see post 48) unethical because he "disclosed private information without consent of all parties"? That seems an almost exact parallel to Norton's case, even more than the examples Hermit gives.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 12:50 PM   #675683 / #59
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Originally Posted by Politesse
Nor do I think it likely that the LDS is suffering any particular damage from this; if he's a saboteur, he's a pretty ineffective one. I mean, you think the rituals are stupid, but you think every religious ritual is stupid, already. I don't think any committed Mormons are going to be put off the faith by the revelation that there are rituals in it. What we have here are people being filmed and published during a private and important moment in their lives, because someone else got angry at the organization they belong to. It's not doing anything to "the church", only the people involved, who are being ridiculed for no reason other than an illegal intrusion into their lives.
Why would the specific individuals be ridiculed, if the rite they're taking part in is not ridiculous?

And perhaps you're right, and the Mormons won't lose any members or potential members by the exposure of this particular bit of nonsense. But I rather hope you're mistaken about that.

[added] Norton thinks he's having an effect- from lpetrich's first link:
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As a crusader against the church, Norton now keeps a tally of how many people he's converted away from Mormonism: hundreds. It's not the feeling of pure joy he felt at 19, believing he was saving souls, he says.

Today, Norton adds, "I feel like I saved them 10 percent of their income, I saved them from joining a racist, misogynist cult."

Last edited by Jobar; 13 Aug 2017 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 13 Aug 2017, 05:22 PM   #675685 / #60
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Poli, would you consider Steven Fishman (see post 48) unethical because he "disclosed private information without consent of all parties"? That seems an almost exact parallel to Norton's case, even more than the examples Hermit gives.
How is involuntary incarceration and interview followed by a dubious insanity plea replete with conspiracy theories anything like self-aggrandizement on youtube?
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 01:39 PM   #675708 / #61
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Neither of those characterizations seem accurate, or indeed even recognizable.

Of course the individuals involved, and the specifics of their situations, are different. But the ethical problem each one faced seems to me much the same.

And I notice you haven't answered my real question. Once again, do you find Fishman's actions in revealing Scientology's secret doctrines unethical? Why, or why not?
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 03:46 PM   #675711 / #62
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Saying a bunch of crazy shit about Scientology in a court document to get off of a fraud charge is nothing whatsoever like illegally posting video footage of someone's baptism on the internet. You seriously are unable to see the difference?

I don't think he had all his marbles, and his behaviors were so out there as to be difficult to ethically classify, but I certainly don't think Fishman was well-intentioned, no. Schizophrenic or no, the circumstances under which his muckracking spirit was wakened was clearly a bit self-interested.

But neither did he post private information or videos about anyone. Whether or not you believe the stuff he wrote and testified to, it was at least all topically about the thing he was purportedly trying to expose. I mean, the guy thought he was exposing an evil organization that called "hits" on people. If the videos we're talking about in this thread included proof of fucking murder, obviously I would have no issue with Norton taking them... to the police.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 04:01 PM   #675712 / #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
I ask it again:

When, precisely, is it ethical to lie about your intentions and then disclose private information without consent of all parties?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
Revealing secrets is not automatically a good thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermit View Post
we must make an evaluation in order to determine whether revealing a secret can be met with approval or not.
I also cited Ellsberg, Canaris and yes, Norton as examples of people that in my evaluation did the right thing when they disclosed private information without consent of all parties. It should therefore have become obvious to you by now that in my opinion activities need not be criminal in nature in order to make it rightful to disclose them. The wider context is more important, and that domain is beyond the realm of lawyering. If you disagree, give me your opinion about how it is possible to define when, precisely, it is ethical to lie about your intentions and then disclose private information without consent of all parties, when it is not, and if it is not, why not.
As I said (and you at least pretended to have "an area of agreement" before backpedaling and insisting that you had never meant whistle-blowing despite having agreed when I brought it up the first time) I'm fine with good old-fashioned whistleblowing; violating a rule to expose a greater and more serious violation of rules. Such actions aren't morally "good" just because they are necessary (I don't really believe in moral absolutes) but they are justifiable if their outcome is ultimately the correction of a bad situation.

Making war against a neighboring religion you dislike, for whatever possibly justifiable reasons, does not de facto qualify as a situation where such actions are necessitated, and indeed enshrining such as a general priniciple would doom us all to constant class warfare and paranoia. If he were documenting a child bride being abused, I would be fine with his taking the video... to the police. If he were documenting clear violations of church and state, some sort of proof of the coercions many in this thread have alleged between the LDS and the State of Utah, I would be fine with his taking the video to the public. I would do the same. The problem I have is with violating the privacy of innocents and accomplishing no noteworthy goal at all. And I dislike the hypocrisy of suddenly approving of an action one would normally see as wrong just because it targets your ideological opponents.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 06:07 PM   #675714 / #64
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If all that's being done is showing private practice in public, what's really wrong with that? It's not like the church is a for profit (I'll try to avoid the obvious puns) establishment with proprietary content that the other religions are suddenly going to start using and edge in on their territory.

There really is no legal issue with this that I can see. The moral issue is gray, at best. Ok, so he lied about saying he would keep things secret. If that's the worst you can accuse Norton of, then I'm more interested in the effect this has on the church and society. Is it for the greater good? Who knows, probably too early to say if it will have any real impact or not.

If the worst thing these people have to suffer is people making fun of their religious rituals, then it's going to be really hard for me to work up any sympathy given how they (the church/elders) tend to treat those that leave the church, and non-believers.

Also, I want to protest against the parallels and unfair comparisons made of the Satanists. My (limited, I admit) experience with actual satanists (The Satanic Temple, not the Church of Satan (splitters!!)) has been that they are much more charitable, open and accepting than the mormons will ever be.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 06:55 PM   #675716 / #65
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If all that's being done is showing private practice in public, what's really wrong with that? It's not like the church is a for profit (I'll try to avoid the obvious puns) establishment with proprietary content that the other religions are suddenly going to start using and edge in on their territory.
If you don't understand why it would be wrong to secretly film intensely private moments, then publish without the consent of those involved, I'm not sure I can explain it to you. I can only say that the law is with me on this one; you have a right under the law what to say what is done with video footage of you, especially if you didn't consent to be filmed in the first place.

If I tried to pull something like that with, for instance, the informants in my research, both I and my employer would be sued for a large sum of money and rightly so.

And I didn't say anything about Satanists, so I've no idea where you pulled that from; a similar violation of their privacy would be just as wrong for the same reasons. The reason it is wrong has nothing to do with what religion you happen to belong to. If we start trying to support some religions and discriminate against others, secular society cannot be sustained.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 07:28 PM   #675717 / #66
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If all that's being done is showing private practice in public, what's really wrong with that? It's not like the church is a for profit (I'll try to avoid the obvious puns) establishment with proprietary content that the other religions are suddenly going to start using and edge in on their territory.
If you don't understand why it would be wrong to secretly film intensely private moments, then publish without the consent of those involved, I'm not sure I can explain it to you. I can only say that the law is with me on this one; you have a right under the law what to say what is done with video footage of you, especially if you didn't consent to be filmed in the first place.
Intensely private? That's an interesting way to characterize something that the only qualification to enter seems to be a level of gullibility and an entrance fee.
Quote:
If I tried to pull something like that with, for instance, the informants in my research, both I and my employer would be sued for a large sum of money and rightly so.
Sure, and so would many of my clients. In my case, though, it has to do with proprietary methods, processes, materials, etc. I'm technically not even allowed to have my phone where I work now because it has a camera on it, but the company I'm working for recognizes that it would be unrealistic to actually try to get people to not bring their phones with them to work.
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And I didn't say anything about Satanists, so I've no idea where you pulled that from; a similar violation of their privacy would be just as wrong for the same reasons. The reason it is wrong has nothing to do with what religion you happen to belong to. If we start trying to support some religions and discriminate against others, secular society cannot be sustained.
You sure are touchy, Poli. That comment wasn't directed at you if you weren't the one making parallels to the satanists/satanic temple (and it was really mostly tongue in cheek). They have been mentioned a few times in the thread though. It's kinda odd that you didn't notice. Maybe you aren't reading as closely as you thought.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 09:19 PM   #675722 / #67
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If the videos we're talking about in this thread included proof of fucking murder, obviously I would have no issue with Norton taking them... to the police.
So is it safe to say that your threshold is any criminal activity? And presumably the rationale behind that is such activity has been processed by society and a decision was arrived at to make it acceptable for society to punish transgressors of any such labeled activity.

Which takes us once again to activity that has not yet been officially stamped as "illegal." But of course there is all manner of activity that is not technically illegal and yet should not be allowed by society to occur, yes? Indeed, MOST currently illegal activity were once legal and needed to go throug the lengthy process of being labeled illegal. Hate speech is a good example and still contested.

The obvious point being that you have been avoiding, Poli, is that there are harmful acts that any individual may judge and expose accordingly, yes?
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 11:28 PM   #675723 / #68
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...you at least pretended to have "an area of agreement" before backpedaling...
There is no pretence in agreeing that: 1. Revealing secrets is not automatically a good thing. 2. Whoever reveals secrets will need to be prepared to suffer whatever consequences come his or her way. They may be quite severe. (post #43) That is the area of agreement I referred to in post #47, in which I then proceeded to go on to the area of disagreement. Please point to the backpedalling.

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...and insisting that you had never meant whistle-blowing despite having agreed when I brought it up the first time
I have let your use of the word slide until you wrote: "So are you claiming that he is a "whistleblower", not because he in fact caught anything illegal on camera, but because you hope his video will embarrass people whose religion you don't like?" (post #50). There was no agreement. It looks like I was too brief and clumsy in post #52 why: You use the word for someone who makes secret illegal acts public. I cannot use that word for someone like Norton because he exposed nothing illegal.

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If I tried to pull something like that with, for instance, the informants in my research, both I and my employer would be sued for a large sum of money and rightly so.
Orly? Is that why Norton has been sued for a large sum of money? Oh, wait, he has not.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and/or any of the individuals secretly filmed by him could have done so by now. The video has been published five years ago, and it's been viewed almost two million times.
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Old 14 Aug 2017, 11:32 PM   #675724 / #69
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If I commit a crime against you, any crime, I cannot plead in my defense that it is justified by some other unrelated "crime" you committed (like belonging to a different religion from me). None of those things you describe are illegal, except for the child brides. And if he caught on film young women being abused as part of a ritual, that would be a good reason to share the video. But he didn't.
You are focusing on legality. There are many legal things that are harmful. Such as conversion therapy. Or potentially harmful, such as carrying guns everywhere, including into bars.
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 12:50 AM   #675726 / #70
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If I tried to pull something like that with, for instance, the informants in my research, both I and my employer would be sued for a large sum of money and rightly so.
Orly? Is that why Norton has been sued for a large sum of money? Oh, wait, he has not.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and/or any of the individuals secretly filmed by him could have done so by now. The video has been published five years ago, and it's been viewed almost two million times.
For one thing research and such involve confidentiality that is well established and part of professional ethics, signed legal agreements and laws that certain things (medical, etc) aren't to be disclosed without permission. Secret societies and weird religions that feel the need to keep part of the religion secret aren't covered by that.
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 01:07 AM   #675728 / #71
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and/or any of the individuals secretly filmed by him could have done so by now. The video has been published five years ago, and it's been viewed almost two million times.
What point are you trying to make? No one has tried to sue him, no doubt because that would result in even more exposure and public conversation about something Mormons don't care to talk about even among themselves. That doesn't mean they would win if they tried.

And I feel like we're getting a bit hung up on the legality thing; taping and publishing people's private lives without their consent would still be immoral even if it were not illegal.
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 01:13 AM   #675729 / #72
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The obvious point being that you have been avoiding, Poli, is that there are harmful acts that any individual may judge and expose accordingly, yes?
In what sense am I "avoiding" that? I've said numerous times in this thread that it would be legitimate to use video to expose something that was sufficiently serious. If that something is on the video.

I would not hesitate to disseminate a video of Peter Braebeck bragging about killing people by stealing their water rights out from under them. A legal activity, but very wrong; it would strike me as downright morally commendable to make sure people know what Nestle is up to. But that's not the same thing as sneaking into his house under false pretenses and filming his daughter's birthday party or his wife's love affair, to be mocked on the internet later.
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 01:16 AM   #675730 / #73
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You are focusing on legality. There are many legal things that are harmful. Such as conversion therapy. Or potentially harmful, such as carrying guns everywhere, including into bars.
Are those things in the video?
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 01:18 AM   #675731 / #74
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And I feel like we're getting a bit hung up on the legality thing;
We? You are the one who brought that legality thing up on more than one occasion. I keep saying that legality is not pertinent to this particular issue.

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taping and publishing people's private lives without their consent would still be immoral even if it were not illegal.
Indeed. You mentioned living rooms before. Do you really want to do another lap with this canard?
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Old 15 Aug 2017, 05:39 AM   #675737 / #75
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Indeed. You mentioned living rooms before. Do you really want to do another lap with this canard?
Did you know that canard is actually French for "[a] duck"? Well, I suppose you were using it in its common English sense rather than its original meaning.
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