angstzeit: (Default)
I am ambivalent about wikileaks. I've certainly always been pro-disclosure. I believe that secrecy will almost always be abused.

But then I think about Valerie Plame and how many of the people championing wikileaks were likely critical of her outing as a CIA operative. Do we really want all secrets exposed? Or only those that hurt those we don't like? Or are leaked by those we like? Or support the story we want to hear?

It seems to me that secrecy is a dangerous game--but so is exposure. It is unlikely that anyone knows the full repercussions of exposure or secrecy. I've written previously about how information crafted for a small audience can be easily misinterpreted by a wider audience. Do we want all of our diplomats, military and other government officials to communicate with the intent that it be heard by everyone? Can you imagine if every communication had to be crafted like a political speech? Would anything get done?

How to solve the riddle? I don't know. Like I said, I'm ambivalent about it. Do I trust the government to only keep secret what is truly necessary? No. Do I trust largely unknown (and unelected) people who have no idea of the full import of what they're revealing? No. The problem is when we believe we must support one unconditionally simply because we don't like the other.

I don't think wikileaks is an unmitigated good thing any more than government is. Frankly, I worry that they're not too much different--or will become so. For both desire and employ power and secrecy. And we know what that leads to.
angstzeit: (Default)
I am ambivalent about wikileaks. I've certainly always been pro-disclosure. I believe that secrecy will almost always be abused.

But then I think about Valerie Plame and how many of the people championing wikileaks were likely critical of her outing as a CIA operative. Do we really want all secrets exposed? Or only those that hurt those we don't like? Or are leaked by those we like? Or support the story we want to hear?

It seems to me that secrecy is a dangerous game--but so is exposure. It is unlikely that anyone knows the full repercussions of exposure or secrecy. I've written previously about how information crafted for a small audience can be easily misinterpreted by a wider audience. Do we want all of our diplomats, military and other government officials to communicate with the intent that it be heard by everyone? Can you imagine if every communication had to be crafted like a political speech? Would anything get done?

How to solve the riddle? I don't know. Like I said, I'm ambivalent about it. Do I trust the government to only keep secret what is truly necessary? No. Do I trust largely unknown (and unelected) people who have no idea of the full import of what they're revealing? No. The problem is when we believe we must support one unconditionally simply because we don't like the other.

I don't think wikileaks is an unmitigated good thing any more than government is. Frankly, I worry that they're not too much different--or will become so. For both desire and employ power and secrecy. And we know what that leads to.
angstzeit: (Default)
Fires in Southern California. Hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
angstzeit: (Default)
Fires in Southern California. Hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
angstzeit: (Default)
60 Minutes last night had a story on Rick Berman. As Morley Safer said, "He's a lawyer and a lobbyist and for some people that may be bad enough." As a class I dislike lobbyists more than politicians since lobbyists are the food (well, they provide it--they're sort of like the zookeepers) that keep politicians alive. But, of course, every lobbyist excuses their existence by citing the lobbyist on the other side of the issue.

But his issue is the “Nanny State.” This is an issue near and torturous to my heart.
As many have guessed, I’m fairly libertarian, idealistically. The less anyone, including the government interferes in my life the better. And my philosophy requires that I desire that for everyone else too. But, as I’ve stated often before, with freedom comes great responsibility. Responsibility that most people, at least in this country have shirked. However, I will agree that people generally don’t go looking for responsibility, so when the government takes it away they tend to just give it up and go on.

But I guess I should explain the “Nanny State.” Banning and regulation has become the norm in America. It seems weekly there’s some new threat to people and a new law needs to be made to protect people from making a choice to harm themselves. And as people have choice and responsibility taken away from them; the more the government “looks after them;” the more dependant they become. People drop personal responsibility and expect someone or something else to take care of them. The State becomes our protector, a nanny, and we, its impotent infants.

As you can see this is quite contrary to my gut feelings. I don’t endorse Berman, his methods, or his backers (mostly large industries hurt [aka making less profit] by this regulation). But the premise is enticing.

Obviously, the government has some responsibility for the people. To protect them from those things it controls, from each other, from natural disaster, etc. But at some point freedom and government regulation come into conflict. Should government set education standards? Should government regulate pollution? Income? Health? Abortion? Food? Everything? Nothing?
For many an instant yes or no is easily given for these and countless other issues. But I don’t find it so easy. The thing is that an ideal, free, responsible, thoughtful people would control all these issues (presumably for their betterment) with their choices. However, an ideal government could regulate many things in the least restrictive ways and people needn’t give up responsibility by making choices about government. Obviously, neither of these ideals exists. So do we steer a middle course or, with hope, go to one side or the other?

The ideal in my heart tells me to trust freedom and humanity. My reason tells me this is noble but in reality it is a folly. Thus I come to that odd place where liberalism and conservatism cross and cease to exist. Where both are left with a choice of hoping for the future or sticking with the past or present. Roll the dice, or accept the status quo?

Again, you can probably guess my stance. I choose hope and I choose freedom. Not without trepidation. Not without realizing that the costs will be high and the pain great. But I believe the possibility is worth it. And, I guess, truthfully, the only other choice I’d make is hedonism, (feigned) capitulation, and an attempt to not care. The world will continue on its present course without my help so why strain myself? No, I’ll stick with my first choice.
angstzeit: (Default)
60 Minutes last night had a story on Rick Berman. As Morley Safer said, "He's a lawyer and a lobbyist and for some people that may be bad enough." As a class I dislike lobbyists more than politicians since lobbyists are the food (well, they provide it--they're sort of like the zookeepers) that keep politicians alive. But, of course, every lobbyist excuses their existence by citing the lobbyist on the other side of the issue.

But his issue is the “Nanny State.” This is an issue near and torturous to my heart.
As many have guessed, I’m fairly libertarian, idealistically. The less anyone, including the government interferes in my life the better. And my philosophy requires that I desire that for everyone else too. But, as I’ve stated often before, with freedom comes great responsibility. Responsibility that most people, at least in this country have shirked. However, I will agree that people generally don’t go looking for responsibility, so when the government takes it away they tend to just give it up and go on.

But I guess I should explain the “Nanny State.” Banning and regulation has become the norm in America. It seems weekly there’s some new threat to people and a new law needs to be made to protect people from making a choice to harm themselves. And as people have choice and responsibility taken away from them; the more the government “looks after them;” the more dependant they become. People drop personal responsibility and expect someone or something else to take care of them. The State becomes our protector, a nanny, and we, its impotent infants.

As you can see this is quite contrary to my gut feelings. I don’t endorse Berman, his methods, or his backers (mostly large industries hurt [aka making less profit] by this regulation). But the premise is enticing.

Obviously, the government has some responsibility for the people. To protect them from those things it controls, from each other, from natural disaster, etc. But at some point freedom and government regulation come into conflict. Should government set education standards? Should government regulate pollution? Income? Health? Abortion? Food? Everything? Nothing?
For many an instant yes or no is easily given for these and countless other issues. But I don’t find it so easy. The thing is that an ideal, free, responsible, thoughtful people would control all these issues (presumably for their betterment) with their choices. However, an ideal government could regulate many things in the least restrictive ways and people needn’t give up responsibility by making choices about government. Obviously, neither of these ideals exists. So do we steer a middle course or, with hope, go to one side or the other?

The ideal in my heart tells me to trust freedom and humanity. My reason tells me this is noble but in reality it is a folly. Thus I come to that odd place where liberalism and conservatism cross and cease to exist. Where both are left with a choice of hoping for the future or sticking with the past or present. Roll the dice, or accept the status quo?

Again, you can probably guess my stance. I choose hope and I choose freedom. Not without trepidation. Not without realizing that the costs will be high and the pain great. But I believe the possibility is worth it. And, I guess, truthfully, the only other choice I’d make is hedonism, (feigned) capitulation, and an attempt to not care. The world will continue on its present course without my help so why strain myself? No, I’ll stick with my first choice.

March 2016

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