With this essay, I present an argument about the performative and perceptual nature of prudence. I support my argument through a case study in which I examine Barack Obama’s response to Edward Snowden’s unauthorized disclosures about NSA surveillance programs as a way to observe prudence in practice. In my analysis, I identify three ways in which Obama performed prudence. First, he established his image as a prudent and informed leader. Second, he established surveillance as a prudent and historically effective practice ensuring national security. Third, he established the contemporary policy of surveillance as a prudent and deliberate choice reached through discussion and participation by all citizens.

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