“The private life is dead in the new Russia,” said a Red Army officer in the film of Boris Pasternak’s “Dr. Zhivago.” There were many scarifying things in that great movie, but that was the scariest, the dry proclamation that the intimate experience of being alive would now be subordinate to the state. An odd thing is that when privacy is done away with, people don’t become more authentic, they become less so. What replaces what used not to be said is something that must be said and is usually a lie.
When we lose our privacy, we lose some of our humanity; we lose things that are particular to us, that make us separate and distinctive as souls, as, actually, children of God. We also lose trust, not only in each other but in our institutions, which we come to fear. People who now have no faith in the security of their medical and financial records, for instance, will have even less faith in their government. If progressives were sensitive to this, they’d have more power. They always think the answer is a new Internet Privacy Act. But everyone else thinks that’s just a new system to hack.
Read the rest of Peggy Noonan’s article at the Wall Street Journal online.