The Moral Significance of the Traffic Camera

Feel safer in the era of security cameras and GPS technology? Think again. In this intriguing, readable article from Philosophy Now, scholar Emrys Westacott lays out an unnerving argument: "Ubiquitous surveillance is like a magnetic force that changes the trajectory of our moral aspiration." The article begins:

Imagine that right after briefing Adam about which fruit was allowed and which forbidden, God had installed a closed-circuit television camera in the garden of Eden, trained on the tree of knowledge. Think how this might have changed things for the better. The serpent sidles up to Eve and urges her to try the forbidden fruit. Eve reaches her hand out in paradise the fruit is always conveniently within reach but at the last second she notices the CCTV....

Celia Wren is Commonweal’s media and stage critic.

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