Al Gore’s guys to the rescue.
On the web site of Al Gore’s Current TV, Stephen Lewandowsky says Peter Gleick’s acts of deception and theft don’t rise to the justification of Allied deception of the Nazis in World War II or even Daniel Ellsberg’s theft of the so-called “Pentagon papers”:
… Is Gleick another Churchill or Ellsberg?
Legal issues aside, how does his subterfuge compare to the potential public good that has resulted from the documents’ release?
Many philosophers who study ethics agree that it is important to consider the consequences of one’s actions in a moral dilemma to come to an acceptable judgment. Rather than relying on moral strictures, this “consequentialist” approach argues that the morality of an action is evaluated by whether it brings about the greatest total well-being.
This reasoning is mirrored in the cognitive laboratory, where people’s responses are also often informed by the consequences associated with competing paths of action (the data are quite complex but it seems safe to conclude that most people are sensitive to weighting the outcomes of competing actions rather than being exclusively entrenched in immutable moral rules).
Does this mean there is an ethical imperative to consider Gleick to be another Daniel Ellsberg?
Lewandowsky concludes his piece by stating:
It is a matter of personal moral judgment whether that public good justifies Gleick’s sting operation to obtain those revelations.
Well if “saving the planet” (versus defeating the Nazis or opposing the Vietnam War) amounts to only a matter of “personal moral judgment,” then the planet must not really be in danger after all.