The views on whistleblowing are divided. On the one hand, whistleblowing is seen as a necessary evil. The “evil” of whistleblowing lies in violating the implicit loyalty and confidentiality that one owes to one’s employer even if one is justified in doing so. DeGeorge develops the argument in one of the readings for this week that whistleblowing is justified if certain conditions are met. On the other hand, whistle blowing is seen as an affirmation of loyalty because, even if one is reporting one’s employer publicly, the act is selfless and focused on the good of the corporation. Larmer presents this view in his article assigned for this week.
These two views regarding whistleblowing reflect the divided views on Snowden’s case. (See the YouTube videos on Snowden and whistleblowing recommended for this week.) To some, Snowden was not only disloyal to and in breach of his confidentiality agreement to the company that hired him, but also a traitor to the United States. As reported in the news, Barry Manning’s attempt to expose the disregard for human life displayed by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan was met with a 35-year conviction. Consequently, others view Snowden as a hero who had no other alternative but to whistleblow on the breaches to the Constitution that affected the privacy of American citizens since an internal report might not have been successful in light of the government’s conflict of interest.
In your post examine the following questions, which will also need to be informed by the Kant reading in the textbook assigned for this week:
a. Were Snowden’s actions in accordance or contrary to the notion of duty in Kantian ethics? Explain why.
b. Can whistleblowing be a universal maxim?
c. Is whistleblowing another way of supporting the universal maxim to not lie?
d. What would be the argument that Snowden is a hero and a patriot? (Provide at least two reasons and their corresponding support—so do not merely advance opinion.)
e. What would be the argument that Snowden is a traitor? (Provide at least two reasons and their corresponding support—so do not merely advance opinion.)
- Freeman, R. E. R. (1988). A stakeholder theory of the modern corporation. Perspectives in Business Ethics. Retrieved from http://academic.udayton.edu/lawrenceulrich/Stakeholder%20Theory.pdf
- Friedman, M. (1970, Sep. 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073524697/910345/Appendices.pdf
- Larmer, R.A. (1992). Whistleblowing and employee loyalty. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(2), 125-128. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
- Lop, P. (2011, Feb. 24). Understanding De George’s Standard theory on whistleblowing. Inside Business 360. Retrieved from http://www.insidebusiness360.com/index.php/understanding-de-georges-standard-theory-on-whistleblowing-5824/
- CNN. (2013, July 15). Greenwald: Snowden a responsible whistleblower [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XRRAsi3XfY&feature=youtu.be
- Kevin M. Gallagher. (2013, June 9). NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM
- The Stochastic Sister. (2011, Aug. 6). Curb your enthusiasm – waiting room policy [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIVYdd60eNs&feature=youtu.be
- Triviatrailers. (2011, May 31). The whistleblower (2011) – official trailer [HD] [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/al3anBiHwmI