Values File

But we may do more we may warn others and confront

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Unformatted text preview: rth Amendment provides a solid foundation for a communitarian public philosophy of privacy, one that has significant implications for our social mores, public policy, and jurisprudence as we struggle to adapt our institutions to the cyber-age. This philosophy recognizes as justified a whole category of acts in which concerns for the common good take precedence over privacy, rather than strongly privileging privacy a priori, implying that a balance between these two core values must be worked out. Another reason to rely on the conception embodied in the Fourth Amendment, rather than on the amalgam of various constitutional rights used to construct a constitutional right to privacy in the reproductive choice cases, is that the Fourth Amendment focuses on scrutiny rather than on control. Thus, it avoids the major conceptual and ethical confusion between privacy and privateness (or autonomy) that has affected mores, policy, and legal doctrines. Most important, the Fourth Amendment, by introducing the distinction between searches that are unacceptable violations of privacy and those that are justified by public needs, recognizes the need for balance between privacy and the common good rather than treating privacy as privileged. DIMINISHING PRIVACY IS DONE IN THE SERVICE OF THE COMMON GOOD Amitai Etzioni, Professor, George Washington University, THE LIMITS OF PRIVACY, 1999, p. 2-3. This is a book largely about the other side of the privacy equation. It is about our investment in the common good, about our profound sense of social virtue, and most specifically about our concern for public safety and public health. Although we cherish privacy in a free society, we also value other goods. Hence, we must address the moral, legal, and social issues that arise when serving the common good entails violating privacy. When I mentioned the subject of this book to audiences of friends, students in my classes, and members of the public, initially they were all taken aback. Privacy, they pointed out, is under siege, if not already overrun. Given privacy's great importance to a free people, my listeners stressed, one should seek new ways to shore it up, not cast more aspersions on it. To begin a n...
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