Friday, December 10, 2010

Wikileaks: Beyond Good and Evil

One of the better pieces I've read out there on the WikiLeaks story can be found on the Advocate site -- it was written by Advocate Staff and covers a few instances of the differences in media coverage and reaction. One small part:

There is obvi­ously some­thing pro­foundly unde­mo­c­ra­tic about this state of affairs. In order for a democ­racy to func­tion, it is nec­es­sary for the cit­i­zenry to have sig­nif­i­cant access to infor­ma­tion about mat­ters of state. Par­tic­u­larly when it comes to Amer­i­can for­eign rela­tions and Amer­i­can over­seas adven­tures, the cit­i­zens of this coun­try are very much — too much — in the dark (obvi­ously this is gen­er­ally true of every coun­try). Wik­iLeaks or any sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tion thus car­ries with it a democ­ra­tiz­ing poten­tial whereby infor­ma­tion that has been unnec­es­sar­ily locked away becomes avail­able to the aver­age cit­i­zen. On the whole though, lib­eral and con­ser­v­a­tive elites are united in their belief that this ought not to hap­pen, and thus Wik­iLeaks is either demo­nized or shrugged off as fairly insignif­i­cant. Even some lib­er­als, such as Jon Stew­art, who are pre­sum­ably more skep­ti­cal of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy than the aver­age Belt­way insider, don’t par­tic­u­larly know how to react to an orga­ni­za­tion that has the poten­tial to pro­vide the kind of infor­ma­tion that could, the­o­ret­i­cally, inform a move­ment that would seek to utterly trans­form Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy. Stewart’s scathing, ironic style is absolutely top­ping when it comes to evis­cer­at­ing the pow­ers that be, but it has no idea how to respond to the pos­si­bil­ity of act­ing in a man­ner that would chal­lenge America’s impe­r­ial pres­ence in much of the world, some­thing which is at least made more pos­si­ble by a trans­parency orga­ni­za­tion like WikiLeaks.

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