Saturday, December 4, 2010

You Can't Handle the Truth

Tom Flanagan is a University of Calgary professor and a longtime friend, advisor and former campaign manager of Stephen Harper. I don't know what his current relationship is to Harper, but I think his philosophy is similar to that of the Conservative party.

A few days ago on CBC he called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. Two things stuck me: the obvious is that this clearly crosses the line. Here is a somewhat prominent intellectual from a civilized, reasonable country saying a man needs to be killed because he allowed some material to be posted on a website.

But it's the reasoning behind the comment that should be more concerning. The Wikileaks information is a huge collection of classified US State Department diplomatic cables. Flanagan asserts that this type of information is dangerous and should never become public. "This is really not stuff that should be out," he says. Apparently, only a small circle of smarter-than-us political leaders should be allowed to know such things, the rest of the world can't handle it. I find a parallel with our current government, who seem to want to do most of their business in secret with less and less transparency. And with the same contempt of the general public.

The internet and modern communication in general is opening things up. Information of all sorts is more available now than ever. And this is a good thing. There's always the risk of misinformation or over-reaction, but that's hardly a justification to keep secrets. Or to order a hit on someone who runs a website.

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