Sunday, December 21, 2014

Have we Americans learned the right lesson from the North Korean hacking of Sony?

As you probably know, North Korean hackers got into the computer system of Sony - a company that makes Hollywood films.

They did this because the North Korean government objects to a movie developed by Sony, which was going to be shown, in which Kim Jong Un was going to be assassinated (murdered).

President Obama criticized Sony for not showing the film (theaters in America were worried they might be attacked if they showed the movie) but I don't think Obama realizes what we all, in the USA, should learn from this situation.

1) We claim to value unlimited free speech - even free speech that attacks innocent people and can harm others.  Even John Stuart Mill - one of the strongest advocates of free speech - did not think this was right.

2) We think we can impose our values on the rest of the world.  Because extreme 'free' speech is allowed here, we think we can use this speech to attack religious prophets and leaders from around the world. Well, now we know folks can bite back. We should have learned this a long time ago.

Most of the world does NOT share American values. Our internet companies and search engines and now our entertainment companies are learning that what goes on in America will not be tolerated in other parts of the world, where they view our lifestyle as extreme, self-indulgent, unethical and petty.

3)  What happens in America does not stay in America any more.  It used to be that what was said and written here pretty much stayed within the borders of the USA. Now, in this 'globalized' world, what we create goes world wide and we obviously do not consider how the rest of the world might feel about what we send out into the world.  Obama seemed to think it was Ok that Sony made a film about the murder of a foreign leader. I am not so sure that was "OK". Our entertainment industry needs, perhaps, to consider the fact that the USA is one nation in a global community and just as one of us would not say anything overly offensive at a cocktail party (for fear of being hit in the face) maybe we should consider using the same approach with the other countries who share this planet with us.

But of course you, the foreign reader of this blog, must already know that the USA simply never learns any lessons.  For example, 30 years after Vietnam, we started more Vietnams.  We just don't learn things here. So this big lesson will be lost and our communications companies will continue to alienate the rest of the world.

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