What’s Really Wrong with WikiLeaks

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This article is reprinted from City Journal.

We hardly needed WikiLeaks to tell us, among many other things, that Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France, is a vulgar man with authoritarian inclinations, or that Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, is interested in sex. It isn’t even particularly reassuring to have our judgments confirmed for us by American diplomatic messages, for if they had said anything different we shouldn’t have believed them in any case.

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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  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    The system is coming apart what WILL replace this system will be real evil, people are people and all hate each other for many reasons the same can and has been said about wikileaks it is a burning rage government has inside ITS own system that want's to control and will.
    What is really wrong with wikileaks nothing. Face facts our real privacy is long disappeared from all nation states and with that has come the police state, some say we our not a police state ask the people who have been shot down like dogs inside the so called USA, This nation is dead nad it died long ago you can say no to that but just get something on the cops or some political people who are not In a desired/ favorite political place with the big boys and see what will happen.

    soon your political people will only want you to get in line for the prison state and all of you will, some may not and that will be the end of any who say no.

  • Humbug

    If they see no need for secrecy, who are all thier members and where are their websites hosted? No need to hide. Information just wants to be free! /sarc

  • tagalog

    Maybe Wikileaks can find and disclose President Obama's birth certificate!

  • Don from BC

    "A reign of assumed virtue would be imposed, in which people would say only what they do not think and think only what they do not say."

    Vestiges of doublethink and thoughtcrime methinks.

  • Tim in MN

    The goal of Wikileaks has nothing to do with government transparency and everything to do with bringing down western civilization. And of course the personal cowardice of its founder. Notice that only America has been targeted. Why? Because he knows if he went after any other country he would become the victim of a terible tragedy or just simply disappeared. I'm sure Assange would love to go after Israel if he wasn't afraid of Mossad. He probably could go after Britain with impunity but the Brit's secrets are under the control of adults and harder to get at than ours.