Shouldn’t we be upset about Russian hacking regardless of their reason?

So what do we know? We know that during the presidential campaign numerous emails were hacked from computers belonging to the Clinton campaign and the DNC. These emails were handed to the Wikileaks organization who made them public. The effect was that the Clinton campaign was embarrassed for various reasons.

So who did the hacking? Many U.S. intelligence agencies say it was the Russians. That certainly seems like the likely answer.

At the time of the hacking it was a bit unclear why the emails were hacked and made public. A reason often mentioned was that the Russians wanted to undermine the democratic process. Now U.S. Intelligence is saying the reason was to actually help the Trump campaign.

Frankly, is one reason any worse than the other? If Russians are attacking our democracy, shouldn’t we be pissed of regardless of their motivation. Let’s say it turned out they did it as a big prank. Is that a better reason than trying to get Trump in office?

So why are people obviously much more upset with the second reason? I think it’s partly because we are wired to be opposed to unfairness. If the Russians were just hacking to undermine democracy, that doesn’t really favor one group over the other. But if they are playing favorites, that galls (some of) us.

So why does it gall us? What’s the psychological reason? I think it raises the possibility that you can work your ass off and still lose for reasons outside of your control. The landscape is against you.

And that’s a perfectly good reason. But in the big picture, I feel would should be upset about foreign meddling for any reason.

I’m not convinced, however, that were the shoe on the other foot (say the Russians hacked Trump’s servers a released pictures of him having sex with goats) that many now outraged wouldn’t be thanking the Russians.

1 Response to “Shouldn’t we be upset about Russian hacking regardless of their reason?”


  1. arcs

    *If* the Russians hacked the DNC emails and released the emails to Wikileaks, I choose to believe that the Russians did so in their own self-interest. That is not necessarily a bad thing for the US.