WikiLeaks Threatens the Enemies of Freedom – Only
by Steven Greenhut
The response by pundits to the latest WikiLeaks classified-document dump has reminded me of a preacher who decries pornography, but who also insists on reading the dirty magazines page by page so that he can better understand the depth of the world’s depravity. If WikiLeaks’ actions were so wrong, why is there such widespread interest in these cables, often by the same people vociferously criticizing their release?
Clearly, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has done our nation a service by publishing at-times embarrassing accounts of how the U.S. government conducts its foreign policy. This is a government that claims to be of the people, by the people and for the people, and which has grand pretenses about projecting freedom worldwide, yet it wants to be able to keep most of the details of its actions away from the prying eyes of the public.
There’s no evidence that any information released will endanger anyone, and the U.S. government reportedly refused Assange’s request to work with him to scrub any names that could be compromised. Officials will always trot out the “endangering lives” or “protecting security” argument so they don’t have to reveal what they are doing, how they are doing it, or any misconduct or mistakes they have made while doing it. That’s human nature. I’m surprised by how readily most Americans, liberal and conservative, are content with allowing so much of their government to operate in secrecy, even though open government is the cornerstone of a free society.
Cablegate separates Americans into two categories. There are those who agree with our founders that government power is a corrupting force, so government officials need to be closely monitored. And there are those who have nearly blind trust in the public-spiritedness of those who run the bureaucracies and rule us.