What a pickle this appears to be for so many. Not so myself.
I read Arthur Brisbane’s piece this morning in the New York TIMES entitled “What if the Secrets Stayed Secret?” and it got me thinking about secrets in general. Now, I have had secrets and I know that secrets are deceptions, in one way or another, that serve the private ends or ambitions of the person that has them. We all know that. But, does the fact that we all “have them”, like fingers and knee caps, somehow make them good? Can we rightfully and honestly defend something on a grand scale simply because we are comfortable with it ourselves on a small or personal scale?
Arthur Brisbane asks us to consider:
What if The New York Times in 1964 had possessed a document showing that L.B.J.’s intent to strike against North Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incident was based on false information? Should it have published the material?
What if The Times had possessed documentary evidence showing that the Bush administration’s claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction were unfounded? Should it have published the material?
These questions, which need only be posed rhetorically, supply an answer to the larger question: Would you as a reader rather have the information yourself or trust someone else to hang on to it for you?
I confess, I have no problem either answering that question or imagining how different the world would be today if that information had been made public. What I do have a problem with are those who would have called it treason then as some call it treason now. I am forced to ask myself who profits, or profited, from the wholesale death and destruction that results from secrets that mislead nations to war.
I have come to the conclusions that I have, namely that secrets, at least on a national level, are far more pernicious than secrets on a personal level. I think that reveling them, far from being treasonous is, in point of fact, patriotism on the highest HUMAN level. I have come to this conclusion as a result of doing what I usually do when faced with conundrums of this nature. As is my way, I attempt to consult wisdom where I know it can be found. Of course by this I mean in the minds of men with the most outrageous facial hair and outlandish grooming habits.
This is what one has to say: “Where secrecy reigns, carelessness and ignorance delight to hide while skill loves the light.”
Now, if the obvious wisdom of that statement somehow “eludes” you…. take a look at who said it!
Google Daniel Coil Gilman.
And if THAT isn’t enough… consider what Albert Einstein said: “