Wikileaks in the real world

There are those, and it seems to be many, who grudgingly support Wikileaks because they have decided it will help roll back an oppressive and conspiratorial government. They give no concern to the ethics involved, the matter of who gave Wikileaks such a responsibility or how they will be held accountable.

Janet Daley identifies a core issue in this line and judges that WikiLeaks is delinquent and anti-democratic.

The fact that it consists virtually entirely of things that were said rather than things that were done has two kinds of significance. One is that private conversations, even when they are not at the level of the diplomatic communiqué, are generally considered to be no-go areas for journalists, because it is recognised that professional life of any kind would be virtually unsustainable without the possibility of confidential communication. The other is that a very different degree of importance attaches to what is said than to what is done. An indiscreet remark or observation is in a different league from a dishonest or disreputable act.

That seems to be a sensitivity in modern times: people are more offended and harmed by words than by deeds. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” has been turned on its head. Now it is all about the words, words that can be twisted and misconstrued in order to support or rationalize fantasies and desires. These days are filled with people who just know how evil or awful some government or organization might be and they will rationalize any effort that they can use to support their ‘knowledge.’

Accountability, responsibility, norms of procedure developed over centuries, and civility are tossed under the bus to further personal gratification. That is what Wikileaks is about. Sides are being chosen. Folks need to give a very careful consideration to the side they choose and the full implications of their choice.

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