It’s rare for me to blog about anything non-technical. I just had a few thoughts about the whole Wikileaks controversy & wanted to write them down. I do not have an official stance on this whole thing; I’m pretty much on the fence about whether it’s right or wrong.
On one hand, I definitely don’t want those Americans who risk their lives every day for US security to be in any greater danger than they currently are. I’m grateful for what they do, and I’m not ignorant enough to think just because we don’t hear about what they do on a daily basis means they do nothing or what they do isn’t important. I can’t imagine how much safer our country is because of them.
On the other hand, we’re supposed to live in a democracy, where the government is controlled by the people. In fact, we’re even supposed to have the ability to overthrow it if we deem necessary:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form…
The problem is, how do we deem this necessary if we do not have access to information we need? Is it OK for our people’s government to have secrets like these? Is it necessary? I suppose you have to consider the kind of world we live in. If it were a perfect world, there would be no need for secrets. If evil didn’t exist, people could play fair. But evil does exist, and it definitely doesn’t play fair. If we try to play fair in the midst of this evil, we lose.
Our government was established in a time where information was not readily available or easily accessible. At least nowhere near the volume it is today. Then, a secret could be kept under wraps with minimal effort. Today it is a huge political machine that still seems to favor the old days where it was much easier to keep that secret. Government officials are reluctant to change this for whatever reason… maybe they do have secrets they don’t want the public knowing or maybe because 50 years ago, this model worked great. Doesn’t seem to work so well today. Today, our curiosity or thirst for knowledge is so powerful that there isn’t much we won’t do to get it. Back then, there wasn’t much we could do to get it.
So what’s the answer? I don’t know, that’s why I’m on the fence. I see a need for both, but where do we draw the line? Who draws it? You could say that it would have to be a collective effort of all mankind to filter out what information was necessary to publicize (an embezzling govt official) & what wasn’t (a secret agent’s cover).
Back to Cablegate, what does it benefit you, a US citizen, to know these things now? Does it mean you caught your government officials telling lies? Lies that probably don’t have any affect on your life & may or may not have been necessary in the face of certain evil? How do you know? How can you say for sure that those cables can be taken literally? How can you say you would have done differently in their shoes?
I admire Julian Assange’s idealistic views, almost like a modern day V in some ways. I like what his intentions seem to be, to make the truth known. However, if a single person who was keeping me safe lost their life because of it, is that worth it? I think no.