Sowing the Seeds of Tyranny
Posted by Larry Doyle on January 6, 2011 6:30 AM |
Without truth, can we ever determine right from wrong and good from bad?
Without transparency, can we ever get to the truth?
Without integrity, can those with ill gotten gains ever be prosecuted?
Without an undying and unbridled passion for truth, transparency, and integrity how can our nation thrive? I am deadly serious. We are nowhere close to thriving currently.
Regular readers of Sense on Cents know all too well my passion for these virtues of truth, transparency, and integrity. I am firmly convinced the wanton obstruction of these principles by far too many within positions of power in our nation is a corrosive force destroying our nation. I continue to beat this drum and rail on those on Wall Street, in Washington, and especially within the financial regulatory system who have tolerated–if not promoted–this obstruction. Complicit in the obstruction is a media which does not dig for the truth and promote transparency.
On that note, let’s bang the drum again.
Thanks to a regular reader for bringing recent commentary by Michael Lewitt of Harch Capital to my attention. In the midst of writing on the economy and markets, Lewitt concludes,
The Pat Tillman story is a painful reminder that that so-called liberal democracies routinely lies to their people on a daily basis. We expect non-democratic governments to conceal the truth – they do not view transparency and truth-telling as one of the duties of government. But democracy is supposed to be different. And yet in practice it isn’t even close. So-called liberal democracies lie about everything – domestic politics, foreign affairs, war, economics – everything. And the more significant the event and the higher the stakes, the bigger the lie.
John Farmer, counsel to the 9/11 Commission, wrote the following about what the U.S. government told the American people about the events of that tragic day: “In the course of our investigation into the national response to the attacks, the 9/11 Commission staff discovered that the official version of what had occurred that morning – that is, what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media, and the public about who knew what when – was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.”5 Mr. Farmer’s book goes on to explain what he initially describes as “inexplicable” – the reason the American people were not told the truth about the events of 9/11 is that their government deliberately lied to them.
Now we have a self-appointed organization that operates in unregulated cyberspace that has taken upon itself to disclose the truths that governments do not want disclosed. Wikileaks is not expressing opinions; it is disclosing raw data in the form of original source documents from which readers can draw their own conclusions. While many of these documents are deemed to be “classified,” their disclosure has made a mockery of the entire concept of protecting documents from public disclosure. Other than those documents that disclose military secrets and/or place individuals’ lives in danger, which clearly should not be disclosed, many of the disclosed documents amount to little more than diplomatic or political gossip. Having reflected on what Wikileaks has done, I find it extremely disturbing that the media and public appear to be far more outraged by an individual or organization attempting to force governments to tell the truth than by the incessant efforts of governments to conceal the truth from the governed.
Before simply condemning what Wikileaks is doing, we should remind ourselves that Wikileaks is fulfilling the role that a free press in a truly free society should be fulfilling. The American media (and much of the Western media) has been completely co-opted by the financially-driven political power structure into repeating a narrative that is false and serves the interests of a small political-financial elite. (LD’s edit: Can you say, “Wall Street-Washington incest”?) Combating such a regime requires disrupting the status quo and upsetting established interests, which is precisely what Wikileaks is doing.
True liberal democracy is a messy and inefficient form of government, and Wikileaks is playing an essential role in the democratic process of shining a light on the actions of governments. It may be going too far in some instances (as noted above, disclosing military secrets or the identity of operatives whose lives could be put in danger is clearly inappropriate), but the lion’s share of the information being released deserves to see the light of day. Much of this information may be embarrassing, but it is not going to get anybody killed. Maybe its disclosure will raise the level of diplomatic discourse and hold governments to account, which can only be a good thing.
Some may say that Mr. Assange is taking it upon himself to second guess the government and those who know better than he what should be disclosed to the public. That may very well be true. But allowing governments to control the flow of information can only sow the seeds of tyranny. It is a profoundly sad commentary on the state of the world today that the public and media are far more eager to crucify Mr. Assange than to speak out against the bold-faced lies of their public servants and business leaders. Wikileaks may make us uncomfortable – in some cases excruciatingly uncomfortable – but that is exactly the point, isn’t it? (LD’s edit: All words emboldened by yours truly).
Wikileaks was inducted into the Sense on Cents Hall of Fame just last week. With this passage, Mr. Lewitt receives the E-Z pass immediate induction into the SoC Hall of Fame as well.
Would our nation as a whole truly be any worse off if Wikileaks released incriminating information about financial regulators who tolerated –if not worse–Ponzi schemes, insider trading activity, and an array of other illegal and corruptible activities? What about equally incriminating information about politicians who have ‘protected’ their incestuous partners? Isn’t it well past time that we clean up and put out some of this garbage?
I think so. I know so.
Truth, transparency, and integrity…echo the call and repeat the cry…!!!
Americans deserve the truth!!
Thank you again to the reader who brought this passage to my attention.
I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.