The Straw Man, WikiLeaks
By Rick Hoar
December 3, 2010

In the end, I predict that the release of classified documents by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks will simply be indefensible. There will be tangible fallout from the telling of truths for which the organization has now become recognized the world over, and the high-profile blog will be utterly drawn and quartered.

This is unfolding, not because the organization misused information it was given, or because it made an improper decision. Indeed, it was the duty of the site to make public the self-proclaimed secrets that the United States let fall into its hands. An independent press is, and has always been, more important than the clandestine operations of our bureaucratic institutions. If that tenet weren't true, by logic, our society would simply be less valuable than its own machinations!

The governments, institutions and individuals of the world SHOULD have the right to keep their own secrets, and today's debate does not involve the right of the state to classify history. However, the independent media should NOT be held responsible to keep information quiet for the government. Traditionally, the press exists to speak truth to power, to hold it accountable to the people, and to balance the weight of institutions with an informed populace.

If the United States wanted to keep its documents hidden from the light of day, it has only its own mishandling to blame for allowing the information to be exposed to a third party. Of course, that goes without saying. The "scandal" of WikiLeaks is that the Internet has destabilized the global power structure, and control must be regained to maintain the status quo.

I would posit that WikiLeaks is being taken to task so that our governments can have a precedent by which to censor the fast-paced medium that is peer-to-peer connectivity over the World Wide Web. When humans can pass information to one another quickly and without intermediation, the controls inherent in bureaucracy disappear, and government becomes irrelevant.

The ordeal today is truly a tragedy in the making. The death of journalism began long ago when radio and television outlets became consolidated under huge corporations. Those corporations eventually learned to de-emphasize news for spectacle, and reporters became costly overhead instead of the very justification for utilizing the public airwaves they once were. Now, only the untrained, ragtag bloggers of the Web are left to defend liberty itself, and few probably even realize that that's the case.

God and science insured that we would not march blindly to our fates as a species, with the viral explosion of global Internet connectivity at the close of the twentieth century. That invaluable gift will be wasted however, if the world does not now staunchly defend the sovereignty of information. Please support the movement to maintain an open and unregulated Internet whenever you see it threatened; not because secrecy is sin, but because free speech is the keystone to all of our human rights.