In The Fountainhead Howard Roark said, “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy.” If so, why does it often seem that computer databases, the Internet and social media—all products of technological advancement—make our lives less private? And why does the “right” to privacy, a recent development in the law, offer so little protection from government intrusion?
This course begins by discussing the nature of privacy and its contribution to a flourishing life—how it facilitates moral action and enhances our enjoyment of relationships, art and recreation. This discussion includes examples from both real life and Ayn Rand’s fiction. Dr. Peikoff then discusses the history of the legal right to privacy, and contrasts it to an approach to privacy protection based on our rights to property and contract. Drawing upon a range of cases, Dr. Peikoff demonstrates that the latter approach best protects the states of privacy which help us to gain, keep and enjoy our dearest values.
This course was recorded at the 2012 Objectivist Summer Conference in San Diego, CA.