Rana Hamza Ijaz is a DAAD Scholar at the University of Passau, studying Governance and Public Policy. He has previously worked with academia as well as think-tanks in Pakistan and his research interests include free speech, demography and social change.
The war between the whistleblowers and governments is not a new one. However, it has taken a new turn in the 21st century. This paper explores the relationship between whistleblowing and national security in modern neoliberal democracies. The paper adopts the utilitarian approach relying more specifically on John Stuart Mill’s theory of Liberty and applying his notion of the “the value of truth for the society” to the whistleblowers in instances of conflict with national security considerations. It is argued that whistleblowing as an action is reflective of the “truth” that Mill seeks as a prerequisite for man as a progressive being; whistleblowing is imperative for a a more inclusive and deliberative democracy. Furthermore, the analysis of Mill’s “Harm Principle” as a qualifying condition for intervention by the state against the individual yields the fact that the alleged harms lack substance. The paper also contends that the gains to the society from these “leaks” are much more substantial than the possible harms.
Keywords: Whistleblowers, Liberty, Neoliberalism, National Security, John Stuart Mill
Using Mill’s utilitarian approach, Rana Hamza Ijaz discusses the moral justification of whistleblowers who, while making use of their liberty of conscience and searching for truth, possibly put national security at risk. Is whistleblowing imperative for a more inclusive and deliberative democracy? Do the gains society receives from “leaks” outweigh the possible harms? The author addresses these and related questions and provides thought-provoking answers. A very challenging essay.