December 13, 2010

Wikileaks, Hypocrisy, and Sunshine (2 of 2)


As discussed in part 1, the most important thing about Wikileaks is the simple democratic fact that we the people are the rightful owners of all system information. This information is our property and the elites have zero right to monopolize it. Anyone who leaks it or delivers those leaks is simply restituting stolen property to its rightful owners.
This can be distinguished from our private information as individuals, which is our individual property. For anyone – government, corporation, private scumbag –  to seize and organize that information without our full consent (contracts of adhesion are not consent) is the same theft, and generally perpetrated by the same elite criminals or their thugs.
But system secrets, the secrets of government and big corporations (which are all welfare leeches upon society), are public property. The information belongs to we the people. Therefore by definition a system secret is a theft, unless there’s some truly critical reason why it has to be a secret. As the Wikileaks deliveries prove, this is almost never the case. So far the Wikileaks record has been 100% illegitimately secreted information, stolen property, now restored to its rightful owners. (Since this record is so complete, so unanimous, so definitive, we now have proof, if there were any doubt before, that the press has an affirmative professional obligation to publish all system secrets, based on the presumption that the secret is wrongly classified, and/or is being kept in furtherance of crime.) 
But the elites themselves, by having betrayed their citizenship and humanity, reveal themselves to have no such private information either. That’s because in their essence, where they’re not conscious criminal conspirators, they are something far more odious, pure hypocrites. In On Revolution (chapter 2, section 5) Arendt discusses the hypocrite, who “is the actor himself insofar as he wears no mask. He pretends to be the assumed role, and when he enters the game of society he does so without any play-acting whatsoever. In other words, what made the hypocrite so odious was that he claimed not only sincerity but naturalness, and what made him so dangerous outside the social realm whose corruption he represented and enacted was that he instinctively could help himself to every “mask” in the political theater, that he could assume every role among its dramatis personae, but that he would not use this mask, as the rules of the political game demand, as a sounding board for the truth but, on the contrary, as a contraption for deception.”
This “mask”, as a public persona, was supposed to help clarify and enhance truth by serving as a buffer between the private person and the public citizen. In this sense it’s related to though not the same as Nietzsche’s concept of the mask, as discussed e.g. in Beyond Good and Evil sections 40, 270, and many other places. As Arendt discusses elsewhere in the chapter, it can be horrible for personal secrets to be dragged into the light. So for the individual to participate as a citizen requires some mediation of the concept of political persona, if only as a boundary between public life and what’s legitimately private.
But the greedy, power-seeking political hypocrite abuses and betrays this humane concept. His mask protects nothing, since his private essence is the same as his public crimes; he’s simply a criminal, nothing more or less.
All this is bound up with the bizarre obsession and debate over Obama’s state of mind. Obama’s actions as an aggressive neoliberal corporatist and warmonger are crystal clear. So why the obsession with motive? I suppose it’s progress that so many people are now reaching the stage of at least questioning what he really stands for, however absurd it is that this is not obvious to everyone already. It seems like a proxy for figuring out the real nature of the kleptocracy itself. For many people the real nature of the corporations and their goon government is still a paradox. The belief in the goodness of these things (or at least their necessary evil) is dying hard. Can the expanding argument over Obama be a working out of broader psychological issues among the masses, a solving of the conceptual problem, a withdrawal from the brainwashing?
The mere possibility of this demonstrates why transparency is so important, why the criminal suppression of information is so destructive, and why the hypocrite is so morally repugnant. If they can keep the crime secret, they can lessen the chance of the victims liberating themselves. And if they can successfully deny the crime in their own minds as well, it never happened. A hypocrite is a walking exemplar of the possibility of destroying truth. He’s willfully oblivious of the truth of his own action, denies this truth, and therefore destroys it in himself.

[T]he hypocrite’s crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only the crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

Of course our “leaders” are both criminals and hypocrites, and hypocrites precisely in order to be able to commit their crimes and still live with themselves, since they’re moral cowards as well.
Here’s just one choice example, especially bizarre in light of the absolute hatred of Hillary Clinton and all the others for Wikileaks and by extension the Internet itself:

Consider, for instance, how the views of the US administration have changed in just a year. On 21 January, secretary of state Hillary Clinton made a landmark speech about internet freedom, in Washington DC, which many people welcomed and most interpreted as a rebuke to China for its alleged cyberattack on Google. “Information has never been so free,” declared Clinton. “Even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”

She went on to relate how, during his visit to China in November 2009, Barack Obama had “defended the right of people to freely access information, and said that the more freely information flows the stronger societies become. He spoke about how access to information helps citizens to hold their governments accountable, generates new ideas, and encourages creativity.”

So this presents the possibility of a nation of hypocrites which commits hideous crimes whose truth is then lost forever. If a mass murderer convinces himself that he’s innocent, did the crime ever take place? Did the victims ever exist? Or were they in fact the criminals? The only existing witness says Yes, if hypocrisy is able to triumph. That’s obscene. That’s why humanity needs total transparency, not as the solution, but as a prerequisite, a basic tool. That’s why letting in the sun is part of our moral imperative. Wikileaks is helping with this mission. 
Therefore we have to publicize all elite secrets, nor is there any fear here of violating the persona of individual criminals, since the system criminal is not a citizen or an individual, but a piece of crime incarnate. The level of this crime is exemplified by the secrecy regime – done purely to cover up crime, and simply as an exercise in illegitimate power itself. This secrecy is in fact another assault on our sovereignty as a people. This sovereignty gives us the right, and by now the obligation (now that pseudo-democracy has been proven not to work), to rule ourselves directly. But the elites construct a system which allegedly requires secrecy, monopolize those secrets, and then turn around and claim this need for secrecy rules out direct democracy. But that’s simply a criminal lie, an act of classical usurpation, classical tyranny. The obvious response is to get rid of the artificial, illegitimate system which is claimed to require such secrecy in the first place.
We know our property has been stolen and our political heritage usurped. For us to continue to allow the secrets to be kept is to alienate our own sovereignty. We have a citizen imperative here. As citizens we have no choice but to demand total sunlight. We have the right to total transparency, the responsibility to demand it, and no right to shirk this responsibility.
Then there’s also the practical fact that the secrets all involve crimes against us, robberies and assaults on our freedom. So also in self-defense we must seek total transparency. We must reciprocate war on their secrets (our public property) as they declared war on our informational private property – surveillance, databases, consumer info compiling and selling, advertiser tracking, drug testing, DNA testing, TSA scanners, polygraphs. When we consider the monumental level of crime, the existential hypocrisy of the criminals, and the special insult of their absolute assault on our human privacy at the same time that they impose a blackout on our informational property as citizens, the French Revolution’s absolute rage for unmasking and its impetus to drag all hypocrisy into the light becomes comprehensible.
Wikileaks hasn’t done anything so expansive, but has simply engaged in some targeted restorations of public property. It is in fact trying to support and protect true American interests and values (as opposed to the interests of the criminal elites).
Here’s all my Wikileaks posts so far:


  1. Sunshine? Only when We can shrink or overcome our (collective) Shadow altogether. This is our common goal, I think.

    Comment by René — December 13, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    • Thanks, Rene.

      Comment by Russ — December 13, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  2. Thank you for posting this. I completely agree with you that our “leaders” are both criminals and hypocrites. We can no longer look to them for change, we’re on our own from now on, and it’s time for everyone to start facing this fact, however unpleasant.

    In today’s article by Chris Hedges, entitled “No Act of Rebellion is Wasted”, he wrote the following:

    “All energy directed toward reforming political and state structures is useless. All efforts to push through a “progressive” agenda within the corridors of power are naïve. Trust in the reformation of our corporate state reflects a failure to recognize that those who govern, including Barack Obama, are as deaf to public demands and suffering as those in the old Communist regimes. We cannot rely on any systems of power, including the pillars of the liberal establishment—the press, liberal religious institutions, universities, labor, culture and the Democratic Party. They have been weakened to the point of anemia or work directly for the corporations that dominate our existence. We can rely now on only ourselves, on each other.”

    Comment by Frank — December 14, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    • Thanks, Frank. That quote is Hedges at his best.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see realization that we can rely only on ourselves as unpleasant. It will make things more difficult at first, no doubt. But I think that realization ought to be a liberation and a victory in itself.

      That’s the anarchist way of thinking – the knowledge that we can and must be 100% self-reliant (meaning reliant upon no “elites” for anything) goes together with the political philosophy that economic self-management and direct democracy are the only acceptable arrangement. It’s true morally, rationally, and on a practical level.

      So in the spirit of the doctrine that the actualization of anarchism includes thinking and living as an anarchist as much as possible even in a non-anarchist society, I say that the understanding that we must reject all existing elites and no longer look to them for leadership is a coming of age, and should be occasion for joy, not despair.

      Comment by Russ — December 15, 2010 @ 2:34 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: