There was no defining event—like the fall of the Berlin Wall, with sledge hammers and cement dust—but privacy is gone just as certainly, Peggy Noonan writes, and the glare of exposure hasn't made us better. People are forced to reveal everything about themselves—or have it done for them. "An odd thing is that when privacy is done away with, people don't become more authentic, they become less so. What replaces what used not to be said is something that must be said and is usually a lie."
There's no place to hide anymore, and Noonan sees that as "something of huge and existential import. It's like the closing of yet another frontier, a final one we didn't even know was there," she writes in the Wall Street Journal. It's especially ironic for a nation of reinventers, she adds. "Two hundred years ago, or even 100, when you got yourself in a big fat bit of trouble in Paris, you could run to the docks and take the first ship to America."