Blow Your Whistle
Should we fight progress? The basic nature of any established government or business is self-preservation, and becoming a thriving and successful entity in a capitalist society is no easy task. For many businesses a major threat to their continued existence is cultural progress. In the past, before OSHA, the EPA, and child labor laws, one would be obligated to do whatever one’s boss requested,under threat of being fired. With progress and time, we developed standards for the amount of abuse an establishment can dole out. These standards ensured basic rights for workers and the environment. The sole losers in this situation were business profits. Following today’s cultural values, any remaining disregards for the rights of the oppressed are hidden behind closed doors in order to keep up the status quo. Some are simply veiled with a translucent curtain while others are hidden behind triple redundant military level security. These range from the government listening and watching your every move, “in the interest of national security” to the horrors of factory farming. The previously mentioned injustices are combated by, “Whistle Blowers”. Whistle blowers are courageous people that put their lively hoods on the line to unveil these injustices. [Fighting against and punishing Whistle-blowers is synonymous to fighting progress because it limits the spread of ideas and information]
Without invention there would be no progress, and vice versa.Progress is the spread of ideas, and technologies across the globe. With the spread of progress more and more countries are given access to basic necessities. With such access, the workforce begins working towards luxuries instead of necessities. The basic idea of transparency begins to get more important once people have a home and food. With the necessities taken care of, human nature makes people want more. The desire to climb the social ladder is a basic assumption of capitalism. In order to climb the ladder one desires the odds to be at the very least even, not stacked against one; however, the people already at the top do not anyone else there. This dynamic causes a struggle between the haves and the have nots. The result of this are laws against whistle blowers. Processes are currently in place to propagate the current economic climate. Any attempt to stop this propagation is heavily litigated against and blasted into hiding.
The Big Guns
In my life, the first whistle blowers that I was aware of were Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. The actions of these two men led to the creation of “Wikileaks”, a mass leak of secret government documents. These documents revealed widespread unconstitutional deception and misuse of power by the government. Snowden and Assange are currently seeking asylum anywhere that the The USA can’t reach them because if they are caught, they will likely never see the light of day again. Snowden is hiding at an undisclosed location in Russia, while Assange is trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Although many believe that Wikileaks has made a positive impact on life in America, others ask if they should they be punished. Making the best of circumstances, Snowden is going on a speaking tour all over the world by broadcasting himself over Skype. A video in the New York Times, by Erica Berenstein, titled, “Where’s Edward Snowden Now” informs of his speaking tour and briefly discusses his position in current world affairs. Keeping his name in circulation seems vital to his continued existence. It scares me that revealing things we are all against could ruin ones life.
Whistle blowing should be protected under free speech. If ones topic has no merit then it will simply fall into the noise that is the internet and be forgotten forever. A picture of a workforce in a factory doesn't carry much weight, but if all the workers are children, then it becomes a story. If what one exposes has meaning, then the change that comes as a result of it should be embraced with open arms not fought off tooth and nail. In certain situations this will harm business, but you will have to adapt to survive and if not, sorry, that’s capitalism.
You Can’t Handle the Truth
Laws in the agricultural field prevent the public from being able to expose what goes on behind the property lines. Any image of sick cows being dragged by their necks, or pictures of chickens being thrown against walls, and pigs having their skulls caved in with sledge hammers will get one into a lot of trouble. Any attempt to do so is seen as an attack on the economic prosperity of that business. The Editorial Board of the New York Times wrote an opinion piece about the ethics of ag gag bills called “Eating With Our Eyes Closed.” The article lists the various states considering to pass ag gag laws even after a recent bill in Iowa was struck down at a federal level. Ag gag laws go against the core principles of Freedom and it is unsettling that the food supply needs to be hidden away from us to such an extent.
What would you do If you saw your boss abuse his power in a way that hurt other living being? Would you still do it if your life would be ruined as a result?
The result of blowing the whistle varies depending on where one is and who one blows a whistle on. At the very least, your punishment involves losing your job and never finding a job in that sector again. At the worst you, one is thrown into solitary confinement in Guantanamo Bay and is never heard from again.
In “crimes” such as these, we must examine who benefits and who loses in each situation. If the winners of the situation are humanity and the losers are profit then there is usually a clear moral obligation to choose life over money. In certain situations ,the government would like to have us think that our national security and the lives of our service members are put at risk, but this is rarely the case. If America prides itself so much on freedom, then we should be able to be free speak our mind.