Sunday, May 1, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found


VideoLost: Pitbull mix, brindle male, answers to Jake, since April 7 on I-37 between 536 and Hardy Rd. No questions, help Jake come home to his family, 361-765-7373.
Lost: Border Collie, black and white male, one eye, microchipped, C.R. 319/F.M. 775 area. 210-382-2167.
Found: Female dog with dark brown and tan highlights, on Hwy. 87, Adkins. Call Andrea at 623-512-8099.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

SEI Oilfield Services now hiring Experienced Truck Driver - Class A CDL and clean driving record, full benefits package and matching 401k plan. Call Robert at 817-737-8500 or apply at 4641 N. St. Hwy. 16, Jourdanton, TX 78026.
Your #1 Advertising Resource! Call 830-216-4519.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›
Richardson Chevrolet homeRE/MAX homeTNMC
You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.

Section A: General News


Editorial: Privacy battles: As old as the Old Testament




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story
Guest Editorial
July 16, 2014 | 2,114 views | Post a comment

By Dr. Daniel Brown Jr.

Last month marked the beginning of a new campaign for Internet privacy with the unveiling of the “Reset the Net” campaign. Academics, tech companies, and civil rights organizations from around the globe, including Google, Mozilla, WordPress, Tumblr, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, are urging individuals to act now to reclaim their technology privacy. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released a statement to correspond with the beginning of the campaign. Modern privacy concerns, of course, predate Snowden by more than a century and we find evidence of similar concerns even millennia earlier in the Old Testament.

Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis are credited with creating “The Right to Privacy” in their 1890 Harvard Law Review essay. Interestingly, their privacy concerns at the time centered on celebrity gossip journalism and the new media of their day, photography. Warren and Brandeis’ article, perhaps the most influential law review article of both the 20th and 21st centuries, famously defined privacy as “the right to be left alone.”

Privacy advocates have a surprising and quite vibrant text to support their cause in the 21st century: The Bible. One well-known narrative in the Bible, the Tower of Babel, tells the story of how God fragmented human languages and caused people to divide into tribes, and eventually into nations, spread around the world. God delivered this confusion of languages to humankind because they had built a large tower on the plain in Babel, or Babylon. The Genesis text teaches that the building offended God, but we do not know why God was offended.

The Christian tradition emphasizes the pride of Babel and the confusion of language that God brought to humanity. Bible commentators like Matthew Henry have suggested another possible explanation: that the leader at Babel “aimed at universal monarchy,” and “under pretense of uniting for their common safety,” he tried “to keep them in one body, that, having them all under his eye, he might not fail to have them under his power.” Henry’s work echoes that of the Jewish-Greek historian, Josephus, who wrote that the leader of Babel wanted to use the tower to bring the people “into a constant dependence on his power.”

A tyrant’s consuming power and illegitimate control of the people, his surveillance and eavesdropping, perhaps, lead to God’s judgment. This is one possible reading of the tower narrative.

According to my colleague and friend Rabbi Tsuriel Rashi of Bar-Ilan University’s School of Communication, privacy advocates find support for their principles from the Bible’s Pentateuch. The Tower of Babel narrative is central. Dr. Rashi, writing in his contribution to my new book, Interfaith Dialogue in Practice: Christian, Muslim, Jew, states explicitly that, “The purpose of the tower was to monitor and censor speech in the new city around it. This was what God opposed and why he destroyed the tower and the city.”

Rashi turns to a unique 20th century commentary from Naftali Zvi Berlin in which Berlin understands the Tower of Babel as the first Orwellian “Big Brother.” The Genesis 11 narrative of the Tower stipulates that the people were of “one language” and of “one speech.” Rashi explains “the words ‘of one speech’ insulted the Lord, as they signified homogeneity of thought and the lack of any opposition. Opposition became a normative prerequisite in Judaism for the proper functioning of society.” God clearly values diversity of political thought over uniformity according to this reading of the narrative.

Rabbi Rashi writes “the aspiration to build a city, with a tower is ... what we understand today as an Orwellian ‘Big Brother’ concept, whereby all are to be carefully observed from the tower constantly and are not allowed to leave their own settlement, lest they come into contact with others having different ideas.” The Rabbis are drawing our attention to a thread that is already present in the Christian commentary tradition.

As a young student, I dismissed concerns about government intrusions on individual privacy with the smug statement, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.” I find the vast majority of the current millennial generation with whom I interact on the college campus ascribe to that same philosophy. Nonetheless, I now concur with Rashi that God is not pleased when surveillance is used to enforce “one speech.” When government, or any other entity for that matter, tracks what citizens think, say, plan, and do, we have an ethical violation on its face. Dr. Rashi declares, “It is not as megalomaniacal building engineers that they [the people of Babel] are punished by God but rather as totalitarian-minded social engineers who sought artificial and forced social consensus.”

So it is that privacy advocates can and should track their contemporary arguments to the ancient Book of Genesis. Maybe God’s ideal for civic life has merit after all.

Dr. Daniel S. Brown Jr. is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Grove City College (Pa.) where he teaches media law and ethics as well as communication theory. He is also a contributing scholar with The Center for Vision and Values.
 

Your Opinions and Comments


Be the first to comment on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Section A: General News Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Appraisal district board votes to resume construction (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Baylor University awards Cody Soto (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Behind the lens: Swan lake (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Budget Blinds of La Vernia receives national award (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Celebrate hospital’s Grand Opening (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Children’s Alliance plans ribbon-cutting (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. County judge breaks tie vote (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Court Update (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Cowboy Fellowship celebrates 13 years in Jourdanton (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Earth Day plant sale April 30 (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: It’s time to get out and vote for the best for our city (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: Quit whining and play by the party rules (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Emergency-services area may expand to cover City View (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville chamber is on the move (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville Event Center’s no-BYOB policy here to stay (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville man honored with service award (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Free ‘Shred Day’ in San Antonio (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get outside and connect with nature (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Help CASA during the Big Give (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hospital receives audit report, notes record month (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. La Vernia EMS: Four decades of care (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Learn about hosting a foreign exchange student (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Anyone listening? (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Clarity around FEDC contributions (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Unreliable weather forecasts (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Life Line Screening available (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Loan converts to a scholarship (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Master Gardener orientation (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: Falls City ISD (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: Floresville Planning & Zoning Commission (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Parks plan is still ‘wish list’ (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Ramirez promoted to Colonel (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Scammers target CPS Energy customers (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Support children through Big Give (April 27, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. ACTS skeet shoot May 7 in Marion (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Annexation for La Vernia EMS? (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Brahma Happenings: Jackson’s Journey, HOPE fund-raisers, more (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Challenger Water Solutions set to close deal in Stockdale (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Coach to take on athletics for his alma mater (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Community Resource Fair (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Crisis Center plans fund-raising events (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. District 3 considers substation in Sutherland Springs (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Early voting begins on Tuesday in (another) election (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: The ‘voice of the people’ fallacy (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Elmendorf wades into developing its own municipal water system (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Emergency service, via helicopter (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Entertainment lineup for the Jubilee (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FEDC OKs July 3 ‘Freedom Fest’ (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville parks plan: an analysis (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hail pounds ‘like a thousand hammers' (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Housing seminar set (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. La Vernia: New home for Wilson County’s performing arts? (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: A word of caution to advertisers (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Eating sustainably (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Obama’s executive ‘lawlessness’ rears its ugly head (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Wilson County lacks animal control (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meet the Floresville candidates, ask questions April 21! (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: Poth ISD (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: Stockdale ISD (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Missions to include Floresville’s Rancho (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Poth VFW Post 8555 honors students, teachers, guests (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Small-business training webinars (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Special meeting April 21 for Floresville parks master plan (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Talk about boundaries (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Walk to end child abuse (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Wilson County’s unemployment rises (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Yanta: Prosper the work of our hands (April 20, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Apply now for Baptist Health Foundation community grants (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Authorities arrest cattle rustler (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Behind the lens: Screams, spins, speed (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Christian counseling comes to Wilson County (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Doctor will close Floresville office (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: Before you reject the system, understand it (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: Football great Will Smith and mental illness in America (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: White House needs a mature president — not ‘The Donald’ (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Federal funding for community projects (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Free senior exercise classes at OKMH (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Kicaster Cemetery meeting April 21 (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. La Vernia UMC to hold blood drive (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Extra effort (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: The importance of no Supreme Court hearing (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Mayor recaps infrastructure projects (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: China Grove City Council (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: La Vernia ISD (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Meeting Watch: Wilson County Commissioners Court (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. National Lineman Appreciation Day (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pair face felony charges for graffiti on Enchanted Rock (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pair lead police on high-speed chase (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Poth cemetery plans cleanup (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pray to end child abuse on April 24 (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Rainbow Play Systems recalls trapeze rings (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Registration for Alzheimer’s, dementia care training is open (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Save the date for Bike Rodeo, Bike-A-Thon (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Scammers hijack smartphones in new ransomware scam (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Selling sentimental stuff (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Start Smart your business April 28 (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale city limits expand (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale library seeks donations (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale officials approve open carry gun ordinance (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Truck strikes man on highway (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Vets service offers online links (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Workshop energizes teachers to educate about energy (April 13, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Adventure Run set for April 16 (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Authorities search for cattle rustler (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Behind the lens: Riveting reptile (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Donate blood April 8 (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. DWI crackdown targets Poteet area for weekend (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: Political parties display hypocrisy over Supreme Court nominee (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: We are window-shopping for the next president (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Falls City Council seeks partner for sewer upgrades (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FELPS addresses cost price hike as fuel costs decline (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FELPS payment scam victimizes restaurant owner (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FISD plans Wellness Fair and 5K (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville plans community Independence Day celebration (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Injury accident (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Just be honest (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Learning opportunity for teachers June 6-9 (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: La Vernia ideal home for YMCA (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Leave political correctness out of Jaguar name (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: We are the stooges (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Little League Night in Floresville (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. LV Greater Chamber plans April 6 meeting (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. One-Act Play shines at District (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Online control system detects faulty switch, saves FELPS $750K (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Opry Jam Night April 7 (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Participate in Candidates’ Forum (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. State test glitches heighten exam anxiety for students (April 6, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Sutherland Springs woman: Snakes alive! (April 6, 2016)