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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Undiplomacy

A lot of fuss over this Wikileaking resolves down to the core question of secrets: should there be any kept?  I recall the 1992, and prescient, cyber-espionage thriller, Sneakers, which explored a world "without secrets" - a trope of many thrillers being the code-breaking device that renders all codes defunct.  The Enigma machine was built to render all Nazi codes transparent, and that was viewed as wholly to the good.  However, a thought experiment would quickly reveal that if all our private thoughts could be overheard, chaos would ensue - same for our private conversations?

It seems to me that what has been flooded out is eyebrow raising but confirms what we have suspected - that diplomats spy, and that some dodgy leaders and nations really are, well dodgy, and that some world leaders favour "voluptuous" Ukranian medical companions.  Privacy and secrets are the enemy of "truth" - but Ibsen, in the The Wild Duck, has Gregers destroy lives when he explodes life-lies that sustain necessary illusions - for coping with the too much reality that presses us on as humans.  Is Wikileaks a modern Gregers, showering us with the dubious gift of near-omniscience?

Ms. Clinton argues that this is an attack on the world system, but it seems a system that floats oddly above the heads of its citizens, one full of rude claims about fellow politicians.  What may disappoint some conspiracy buffs is how bland most of the revelations are - except for the question of Iran.  There we see potential for a coming war.  That's something good to know.  One last thought - Wikileaks may soon be out of a job: when all the world's secrets are out in the world, it is time to recycle Pandora's box and close shop.  Truth will become designified, emptied of its rare value.  Lies and secrets, if truly rare, would become the new strange value.  The best way to keep a secret, of course, is to tell no one.  Not even yourself, as Freud, that early Wikileaker, observed.
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