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After the first slight frisson of pleasure at the discomfiture of powerful people and those in authority has worn off, a pleasure akin to that of seeing a pompously dignified man slip on a banana skin, the real significance of the greatest disclosure of official documents in the history of the world—without, that is, the military downfall of a great capital city—becomes apparent. It is not, of course, that revelations of secrets are always unwelcome or ethically unjustified. It is not a new insight that power is likely to be abused and can only be held in check by a countervailing power, often that of public exposure. But WikiLeaks goes far beyond the need to expose wrongdoing, or supposed wrongdoing: it is unwittingly doing the work of totalitarianism.
The idea behind WikiLeaks is that life should be an open book, that everything that is said and done should be immediately revealed to everybody, that there should be no secret agreements, deeds, or conversations. In the fanatically puritanical view of WikiLeaks, no one and no organization should have anything to hide. It is scarcely worth arguing against such a childish view of life.
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