In my experience, elites tend to differ in how they adhere to social norms: their behavior is more context-dependent. Ordinary people use relatively simple strategies of being generally nice, tough, silly, serious, etc., strategies that depend on relatively few context variables. That is, they are mostly nice or tough overall. In contrast, elite behavior is far more sensitive to context. Elites are often very nice to some people, and quite mean to others, in ways that can surprise and seem strange to ordinary people.
That runs into the problem that it is hard to sell specific info as one has to reveal much of the info for a buyer to know what it is worth to them.
There is a legal alternative to blackmail which is even more effective as incentive: Anonymously offer the evidence to the highest bidder. Unless, of course, it was obtained illegally.
We have total video surveillance of selected targets now. Universal is just a scaling phase away.
Journalists incentives aren't as strong as they could be, but that is different from saying that they are suboptimal or not strong enough. You are assuming without any kind of evidence that not enough is being done. We know that elites sometimes do bad things because we have evidence...but the fact that we have evidence means that the current system is not a complete failure.
Turning one particular dual up to 11 is generally a bad idea in general because of negative effects elsewhere. Why not have total video surveilace of everybody all the time? That would certainly reduce crime. But most people would see that as dystopian.
Let's see if I have this right. From a classical liberal point of view it would be bad to punish someone for being secretly socially deviant in a way that doens't hurt others, say a religious minority or a gay person.
Legalizing blackmailing elites who are harmlessly deviant is good because it encourages them to push for a more classical liberal society?
Also, one concern about blackmailing socially harmful traits is it could make those traits less of a repugnant market. i.e. if there is a blackmail cost for being bad, you feel like it's a fair exchange instead of feeling guilty. I agree that elites are less likely to be motivated by guilt though.
Doesn't the legal system already has a litmus test for who's private life can be reported on as public interest? Perhaps blackmail could only be legal for such cases?
Robin, one of my comments went to the span filter, presumably because it included buzzwords related finance and reproduction.
We already have legal blackmail, or if you prefer, bribery. It is all those confidentiality agreements that prevent the rest of us from learning about defects, harms, settlement amounts. If you think this works against elites, think again. The payers certainly don't think so. The law does treat money and property in higher regard which is the reason we have laws against blackmail, but not against disclosure, whereas in olden days, even disclosure was often illegal. With progress, we may hope even this is banished.
"During Autumn Jackson's extortion trial in July 1997, Cosby testified that he made private payments to Shawn Upshaw, a woman who had briefly been his lover in Las Vegas during the early 1970s. Upshaw later told Cosby that he was the father of her daughter, Autumn Jackson. Cosby denies being the father and said that he gave Upshaw a total of about $100,000 because he did not want her to publicly reveal the affair. The then-22-year-old Jackson was sentenced to 26 months in jail for trying to extort US$40 million from Cosby. In the trial and subsequent appeal, the courts held that Jackson's belief that she was Cosby's child—even if sincere—was irrelevant to the question of her guilt. The courts stated that the mere fact that she was Cosby's child would not have entitled her to the $40 million she demanded, and therefore the demand was extortionate, whether or not she believed herself to be Cosby's daughter."
Journalists incentives are limited, blackmail would add a lot more. Whistle-blowing gives no incentives unless someone offers prizes to pay the blowers. I could imagine a govt agency which set large prizes, but then we'd have to rely on that agency to decide well which whistles are worth more. There's a similar issue in the choice between patents and govt issues research prizes; prizes would be better if the govt could choose prizes well, but the usual opinion now is that they'd choose badly. Similarly, I don't have much confidence in govt whistle reward definers.
There are many norms that are hard to enforce via law. I'm counting on elites adapting, to get more norm adherence. I don't at all see why blackmail makes states more authoritarian.
Yes systems to pick elites are especially important. But far from obvious software entrepreneurs are the best choice there.
I wanted to know what Robin meant. The case of stuff that's legal but embarrassing is different to the case of stuff that's downright illegal.
Oh, I thought you meant examples of the elite people and their elite behaviors! https://www.youtube.com/wat...
I understand "whistleblowing" to target organizations. To target individuals is different. Maybe "leaks" is the better term.
Still, a movement to enforce societal norms on elites would do well to be associated with whistleblowing rather than with blackmail. Just because whistleblowing is way higher status.
Whistleblowing is also a fairly young phenomenon, starting with the Muckrakers 150 years ago, and it is very American, which always helps with status.
As a means of disclosing information about wrongdoing, blackmail has no advantage over whistle-blowing, and also no advantage over journalism. Journalists have to disclose information to make money, whereas it doesn't get disclosed in successful blackmail, and journalists need a public interest defense,whereas it's perfectly possible to blackmail someone over private behaviour.
An example that was brought to light without the need for blackmail.