Transparency Versus Privacy
 
Welcome to the Age of Information. With just a few keystrokes and a handful of clicks, you can find yourself immersed in a pool of infinite knowledge...or total malarkey! But how can you be sure that what you're reading is true? And how can you be sure that parts aren't redacted to conceal the actual truth, so as to spread propaganda or misinformation? The first thing to do is consider the source.

For starters, most blogs (mine included) aren't credible sources. A source that lacks transparency about where it gets its information, or otherwise relies on partner sources who all share the same agenda or interests, is also probably not credible. Mainstream media outlets, much to the resentment of the population at large, are credible enough, but one must remember that they are also corporate-owned and involved in government lobbying in some cases; use multiple sources on a story to confirm as many details as you can.

There are CEO's who would claim that it's invading their privacy to know where their money is going, or what causes they support; the majority of people believes that businesses and government should be held to some sort of transparency standard. Surely there must be a way to maintain personal privacy while exposing the opinions of people who don't have the best interests in mind for society as a whole.

Doxing As A Weapon

See: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing)
There are mixed views about what good doxing can do. Those on the side of total transparency may view hackers and doxers as vigilantes and heroes; but there is also the concern about how the doxing can be used. When it exposes backroom deals between corporate cronies, or government secrets that could potentially harm the American public if they don't know, it is generally seen as a good thing. Regardless of your opinion of WikiLeaks, the site is infamous for exposing human rights violations, private sector emails, and all sorts of classified goodies.

There are independent actors, however, who may be using doxing techniques to falsify claims, act as other people, or harm someone's reputation. These are often done in malevolence and with direct intent to spread lies and rumors, or damage the relationships of the doxed victim. This is a famous tactic from people within fringe groups of Anonymous, 4Chan, and alt-right groups who expose Antifa activists. The double-edged sword is that, in return, those same groups' individuals may also become doxed. This creates information battles in what is already a large information war spanning the entirety of the Web.

Social Media Masks

There are many people who have resorted to using fake or altered names on Facebook, concealing their true identities because of risk of exposure for any number of reasons. The average citizen doesn't have to worry about this sort of thing too much, but it gets tricky when involving a specific demographic or group. Let's talk about Facebook Groups specifically, before engaging other topics.

Many Facebook Groups are public; anyone can join, anyone can post, anyone can see who is in it and what is posted. More politically-aimed groups have, in order to protect their users' privacy, become Secret or Closed. A Secret group is usually only seen by the people in it or those directly invited; a Closed group requires an admin to approve any joining. Some go so far as to provide a litmus test for those wishing to enter, and may deny those who don't fit into the box they're packing. This, too, can be a double-edged sword; trolls and spies can easily infiltrate a group if they're clever enough, or know the right sort of rhetoric to convince others they're "one of them." During the 2016 election, there were many political factions who sought to derail opposing groups, which leads to infiltration in immeasurable amounts. An admin might get approved to a group, and then show their true colors by spreading misinformation, exposing group members to their own faction, or doxing them using individuals' posts (or fabricated versions of posts) to defame or discredit them. Some of the best infiltrators have been undetected for up to a year in some cases.  Others are not so clever and can be weeded out with so much as a meme post, to the watchful eye.

What Transparency Means In Government

See: (https://newint.org/features/2015/01/01/privacy-transparency)
With the rise of the NSA in the last decade and a half, and the amount of whistle-blowers who came out about government mishandling of data, the concern for personal privacy has never been higher. With the Freedom of Information Act (or FoIA), it has been possible for citizens and citizen-groups to appeal to local or Federal authorities, companies, and other large entities, to share classified or withheld information that is seen as necessary to public discourse. Most Americans feel that knowing what politicians and businesses are up to is of utmost importance; but that politicians and businesses know everything WE are doing is a violation of our privacy rights. The issue with public and private information, is how to discriminate between what is necessary for the public and what is better off unknown. There are some who believe, for instance, that Chelsea Manning was wrong to expose obvious war crimes being committed by troops who reveled in killing civilians; facing extreme punishment and relinquishing freedom was the price Manning paid to let us know that warfare is as ugly as it can be. Others praise her as a national hero alongside the likes of Edward Snowden for being demonized by the US government since exposing those secrets.

The average citizen, however, is not engaged in war crimes or classified information, and tends to want to feel secure in their own home, with their own lives and opinions. But what happens when that average citizen is radicalized by their opinions? Possibly threatening other people, or groups, or national security? We should take these things at a case-by-case basis. There are many who believe, for instance, that we need a Muslim registry in order to prevent radical Islamic terror attacks in the US; the statistics speak against this, however, proving that the rhetoric is much scarier than the number of radicalized Muslims in the US.
See: (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/17/in-nations-with-significant-muslim-populations-much-disdain-for-isis/)
See: (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/27/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/)

One could argue that right-wing Christian groups or extremists are a more realistic threat; the KKK and groups like Westboro Baptist Church don't seem too comparable at face value, but they both take religious fundamentalism to the streets with them to preach "the one true way." WBC has not been known to become violent, but they have instigated violence in some cases; however, they usually, "respectfully," leave if they feel that aggression will befall them. The KKK is not so calm or quiet. Since 2015, the amount of anti-Muslim groups has tripled in the US, making the KKK and other white supremacy groups a much more immediate threat to national security. Recently a video surfaced showing formerly feuding factions coming together against what they view as a common enemy: Non-white, non-Christians threatening their so-called God-given nation.
See: (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/us/hate-groups-increase-usa.html?_r=0)
See: (https://urbanintellectuals.com/2016/07/09/eleven-white-supremacy-join-forces-bring-white-power-justice-united-states-video-insane/)

What Happens When Your Private Opinion Is Hateful?

Unfortunately, regardless of the umbrella terms used for any specific group or demographic, there will always be those whom are too radical, too violent, and too unwilling to change or compromise with their beliefs. Joseph Stalin, for instance, took the philosophies of Karl Marx and turned them into an authoritarian philosophy for his own purposes, eventually leading to the pointless deaths of large amounts of Russia's citizens, including people who merely disagreed with the power their leaders wielded. In the US, there are KKK members at local churches, ISIS/ISIL supporters in mosques, and Zionist-Fascists within Jewish Synagogues; this is not to say that these individuals will radicalize other people, especially when statistics (linked above) show that the majority of the populations within these demographics disagree with radical movements or fundamentalist influences that could potentially lead to violence or terrorism.

This isn't just true of religious groups, however. Political influence can breed all sorts of discrimination, either subversively or overtly. Some among the Alt-Right, for instance, have been so radicalized as to openly support fascism as a solution to the rise in anti-fascist movements, because they believe AntiFa groups to be hateful and discriminatory against freedom of expression; meanwhile the AntiFa groups (as a blanket term) believe that freedom of speech and expression are only applicable to non-violent, non-hateful speech, and to purposely divide people into an "us VS them" class system is bigoted and discriminatory, and that those who support or instigate violence and authoritarianism need to be met with an equal resistance; the irony is that some AntiFa groups inevitably espouse the same sort of rhetoric, claiming that even passersby are guilty of supporting fascism if they don't speak out against it. The problem is when either of these groups is infiltrated by independent actors. What starts off as a rally for one cause and an opposition rally to counter could end up as a street war between opposing factions, all because of one or a handful of radicals or spies pushing their own agendas.
See: (http://www.newwhyweb.com/white-supremacist-altright-adwords-exclusion/)

Activism And Patriotism

Unarguably, activism and patriotism go hand in hand; one who is protesting the government of their country does so for love of country and fear of oppression. The divide seems to be between Private citizens and Public interests. Unfortunately, there isn't enough consensus among all citizens to come to a conclusion that is true in all cases. I offer a solution: Consider America's working poor, the deterioration of the middle class, and the massive amount of money being made by corporate cronies on Left and Right platforms, and how their talking heads would have those who lean one way or another believe that the other is the cause of this problem. The truth is that greed is destroying our economy, our government, and our livelihood. It isn't Democrats or Republicans who aren't cleaning Flint's water: it's both, ignoring the suffering masses because it doesn't affect them. It's not "blacks" or "Mexicans" causing poverty and crime; it's the economic oppression of marginalized groups that leaves them in a state of desperation, lashing out at a failed system that asks for their votes to do nothing. It isn't "Jews" or "Zionists" who control the banks and governments; it's rich totalitarians who believe that they can't possibly live to see a day where a fraction of their multi-billion-dollar industry is spent on the common folk rather than the military budget, or put into offshore bank accounts where they never recycle into the American economy. This causes inflation as more fiat currency is printed.

My personal opinion, is that if you want to change the system at all... study politics. Study YOUR politics. Find out what actually makes sense. If you want peace for all people, be honest; if you want peace for YOUR people, you're probably on the wrong side of the fence. If you want tax reform that allows economic growth, examine policies that would ensure this; if you think that the richest people on the planet need even more money, you're definitely buying into politics that would only hurt you. Stop voting against your interests. Stop being so divisive and categorizing people into groups intent to defame them just because their opinion is dissent. Not everyone who has a political opinion you disagree with is a Nazi, or an SJW, or whatever label you throw at them; make sure you know the private and public opinions of people who claim to fit into one group or another.

Be skeptical, and be vigilant. And if you're really certain, with credible evidence, that someone's cause is a detriment to society, be they your neighbor or your Facebook Friend, call them out; expose them, however you see fit. But remember that they will fire back with their own weapons, and it may not be as peaceful as a Facebook post.

Greed And Lies Fuel Radical Ideologies
Resistance To Oppression Is Not Oppression
It's Up To You To Expose Hatred And Bigotry