I just watched an interview with Brian Williams and Edward Snowden.
Is Snowden a hero or villain? I'm curious about what others on atheist nexus think.

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Doesn't  anyone  here  love their country???   Sure  some  of our  leaders have  made horrible  decisions and  yes  some terrible  things  have been done in America's  name....At the end of the day most  people would rather  live  here  than anywhere else....If your  town is ever  attacked by  a terrorist  organization,hopefully  never, most of you will demand  that the very people  you are vilifying protect  you....Lets  face the truth, it can get pretty ugly out there in  the  real world....Who do you want  to protect  your  freedoms when they are in peril....The answer  is  the good ole  USA....All I am saying  is that we have  a system of government  that  has  worked  reasonably well  for the last  240 years, if  any one   of us is  dissatisfied with  our leaders  we do have  the power of our  vote to make  changes  in  leadership.   If  enough  Americans  agree, it would be easy to throw  the bums  out......The last thing we want is to  put America in harms  way by giving  national  security  secrets  to  our  enemies......        

Isn't it possible that Snowden did what he did BECAUSE he loves his country? There's a colossal lie out there (fueled by the same sort of fanatics who spew out religious nonsense) that liberals "hate" America. No one would say that if you criticize your children, that means you hate them, but people say that all the time about your country.

You got that right Berthold. Conservatives are quick to label liberals with the most repulsive labels they can dream up. Have you ever noticed conservative sites often use the words patriot, heritage, heartland, etc?
It's as if they lay claim to everything decent in the USA while the rest of us are scum. Im tired of their bs.

Bertold......I respect  your  opinion  but we are  a nation of laws....If a citizen breaks the law, by taking  what is not his/hers , he/she must face  justice....If we allow someone  like Edward  Snowden  to  take secure  information  using  a security  clearance granted  to him  after swearing to uphold  our  laws, then how  can we maintain a civil  society......Even  if  what he was doing  was noble and  had  only good intentions, that does not excuse his actions.....If he discovered  that his superiors  were  breaking the law, all he had to do is expose them....We are  not a Communist  or Fascist  state....I doubt  he would  have  been  persecuted.......I do agree that  Fox news is completely biased against  liberals.....but in this case the  law  is  the law....

I get what you’re saying here Freethinker, and I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that Snowden faced a true dilemma. Ultimately I guess this goes to the question whether civil disobedience is ever justified. I would never presume to make a definitive judgment as to whether he was “right” or “wrong” in his actions in any ultimate sense. My devil’s advocate self wants to remind you that if a bunch of people hadn’t broken the law in 1776, we wouldn’t be here debating this. However I’m a Libra, thus I firmly believe in justice, and I’m cursed with the compulsion to see both sides of every question. So I can’t disagree with your contention that a deliberate violation of clearly laid out rules calls for some kind of consequences (“retribution” sounding a bit too religious).

 

We are “a nation of laws” on an abstract level, but that’s not always perfectly realized in the concrete world. I would love to believe that “all he had to do was expose them,” but no matter how hard I try, I can’t convince myself that he would have had the slightest chance of success taking this path, and I’m sure this consideration played into his calculus for making the decision. He may not have been persecuted, but he sure as hell would have been stifled. Were I in his shoes, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the courage to do what he did. And he did sacrifice the perks of a pretty snazzy lifestyle, not unlikely for the rest of his life. Maybe that’s punishment enough?

Well said  Bertold, thank you for responding....I guess  we will have to let justice  take its  course.

Maybe some day people will be running around mindlessly chanting "Edward Snowden died for your sins." 

PLEASE!!!!!!!  We don't  want  yet another  deity begetting another religion......UGGH!!!

Oh no! I hope people like Peter Boghossian teaches enough of us to bring the tools of professional philosophers to people in a way that millions of us are out there stopping the spread of religious virus. Maybe our nation and the Earth will come back into balance. 

"...If he discovered  that his superiors  were  breaking the law, all he had to do is expose them.'"

That is what he did.  His "superiors" just happened to be the U. S. Government - NSA.

Yes  he did  Barbara, but the method  he used  was  way  over the top....If something  good  can come from all this, then maybe  justice  will have been served....

Freethinker31, how would you have done it? 

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