Goodbye privacy, hello political office
In Walter Kirn’s article “Little Brother is Watching” Kirn argues that technologies such as the Internet have “democratized” our society. It seems like you can’t do anything without someone else watching. Social networking sites such as Facebook have taken the private life and exhibited it in a public spectrum. Take Facebook’s newest addition, the “See Friendship” page. Facebook takes all the activity between you and a friend and condenses it all into one page. In simple terms, your friendship with another individual is literally defined by a web page. Every college student Facebook stalks, but in our society it’s viewed as harmless fun. Was that guy you talked to at the party cute? What does your ex-boyfriends new girlfriend look like? If you have a Facebook, you’re a “Little Brother.”
When you run for political office, you need to know that your saying goodbye to your private life. Rousseau believed that individuals had to follow the laws that they helped create. While technology is not a law, the same ideal applies. If you use technology, then by tactic consent you are agreeing that technology can be used against you. During political campaigns, every nuance of a candidates’ life is dissected by the press and then broadcast to the world. Bill Clinton’s presidency has been forever smeared with the scandal of Monica Lawinsky. Clinton’s private affairs (no pun intended) were broadcast to the world and ultimately resulted in his impeachment. The press has always been notorious for catching politicians with their hand in the cookie jar. With the technology of today, it’s only become easier and faster for scandals to become uncovered. All you have to do is type a person’s name into a search engine and you have their personal life at your fingertips. If you want a political office, you are going to have to sacrifice your privacy for the good of democracy.
Rousseau’s writings have been misinterpreted to support the idea of a so-called “Big Brother,” a central figurehead who watches over the society and intrudes into an individual’s private life. Rousseau was not a totalitarian philosopher, if anything he was a team player. In his opinion it was about the “we” in society. While Rousseau never had access to an iPhone or a Blackberry I have to believe that he would have supported the “democratization” of our society. Besides, what better way to see an individual persons preferences (or as Rousseau called it, “the will of all”) then to look at their Facebook page.