Reasoning the Common Law
Part Two -- The Right to Non-Misrepresentation of Identity

In our society, we prize how we are represented to others in the form of our identity and particularly we eschew the deliberate public misrepresentation of one’s identity — to wrongfully say that one is a specific person in name, gender, age, address, etc. and not another, particularly in one’s personal life and business. And when this false information is relayed to other persons, agencies, or businesses such deliberate misrepresentations are considered unlawful as they may cause the loss of money or capital, either for the misrepresented or for those unto whom the misinformation is being relayed. When a servant deliberately misrepresents their master in their master’s affairs, it can only be interpreted as an immoral and unlawful act.

This immorality is also shown when one master dishonors the self-determination of another; in its moral state, some call this “hospitality.” In the judgment of all that is moral, Jesus said:

  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. ...
  Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Matthew 25:41-43, 45-46

To welcome the stranger is not to call them a different name than they offer you. When they come before you whatever name they speak, it is their name unto you as if they had born it from birth. If Abraham were to come before you and you were to insist on calling him Abram, against his will and tell everyone you meet that his name is Abram, this would be morally wrong. It is his right to control his name and for him to not be misrepresented in his affairs.

Even in ancient Greece this morality stood, “The city which forgets to how to care for the stranger has forgotten how to care for itself” Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fitzgerald, p.233 (1961). The servant of the master, when they misrepresent that master in their care of his affairs, they disgrace themselves, and must needs be reprimanded for such misrepresentation of another. Of the wronged, they cry out for justice as Abel from the grave.

From a more recent example, Henri Nouwen said of this freedom, this right to be who one is and not be misrepresented:

[We ought] to create an emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations.
Reaching Out, p.51 (1975)

Truly, these words express what freedom is about, what one’s natural rights are really about. It is the right to live unhindered in the enjoyment of one’s life and all its facets. It is to determine one’s personal characteristics and live life true and full. Nouwen speaks of meeting the stranger. But for the servant, yes, a servant may not always agree with the style and personal liberty of their master, but when they act to take away that freedom of life, when they misrepresent their master’s chosen identity, it is immoral and unlawful.

Part Three -- The Right to Privacy
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