Ego, Noble Cause Corruption, and Julian Assange

12 Jun

Noble Cause CorruptionI take for granted that pundits and the U.S. intelligence community will engage in character assassination, but perhaps, as Alex Gibney argues, we should knock down whistle blowers, like Eric Snowdon, and public figures, like Jeffrey Toobin, all as narcissists. Then, the field leveled, we can have a real debate, one which I doubt Toobin wants or could hold his own in. I doubt any American media figure has the intellectual chops or moral courage for that sort of unprofitable activity. It’s easier just to tar one’s opponent, and, ultimately, this line of argument is beneath us.

Alex Gibney in the above-linked Bloggingheads. tv diavlog brings up a notion, that if we consider, would guard our own opinions against self-righteousness: “noble cause corruption“.

Noble cause corruption must be distinguished from traditional corruption. Traditional corruption is defined as the use of one’s official position for personal benefit and gain. Personal benefit and gain may refer to accumulation of more wealth or getting sexual pleasure or simply deriving pleasure from doing bad or evil things. Contrary to noble cause corruption, a person who is traditionally corrupt does things only for himself. He does not seek to achieve any noble purpose but only seeks to pursue his own interest.

The reason why noble cause corruption has become a practice among many law enforcement officers is that it is very easy to judge a person solely because what he has done in the past. In today’s society there is a clamor for harsher punishment against criminal offenders. The public wants to get rid of the criminal elements. The public wants longer prison sentences or even death penalty. In the midst of the clamor the police officers are forced to engage in these actions. In one sense, it may be said that these actions are beneficial for the society since it gets the job done faster and easier.

In contrast, however, engaging in these actions may get the police officer and the police department in trouble for violation of the rights of the criminal offender. Noble cause corruption is a violation of the constitutional rights of the offender. It does not matter whether he has a past criminal record the police officer has to respect his rights. Consequently, the courts have in a number of cases awarded damages against police officers who have willfully done acts in violation of existing laws.

In many cases, distinguish whether a police officer is engaging in noble cause corruption or traditional may be difficult because some police officers who have become used to committing noble cause corruption may be motivated by personal gain, anger, or hatred when they engage in these actions.

For law enforcement, substitute both intelligence professionals and civil libertarians, like Assange, or whistle blowers, like Snowdon. It’s another form of fallacious thinking that professional feel they need to arm themselves against criticism.

Has that ever stopped a public figure from trading in fallacies? Of course not!

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