WikiLeaks: A Litmus Test That All Too Many Fail



The furor over WikiLeaks provides another good acid test to determine how well a given journalist, commentator, or politician understands the issues of liberty and the role of government in a constitutional system. On Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch this Monday, Scott Horton discussed the importance of the latest WikLeaks “dump,” what it tells us about the warfare state and State Department, and why Americans have a right to such information.

But many Americans want to shut up WikiLeaks. They oppose the truth getting out. They support the suppression of information regarding U.S. government criminality. Everyone from Eric Holder of the Justice Department and Hillary Clinton of the State Department to most conservative talk radio hosts and likely Republican candidate Sarah Palin support the persecution of WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange. Palin even believes Assange should be summarily executed by the U.S. government, targeted like the Taliban.

These are totalitarian proposals. Given that so much of the political spectrum favors the cracking down on free speech and free information, and the ability of officials to get away with imperial arrogance, lying propaganda and aggressive war without any accountability, the short-term prospects for liberty are dim indeed.

The political culture of the general public shows some encouraging trends, with its vague distrust of bailouts, stimulus, perpetual foreign intervention, socialized medicine, and overtly invasive security procedures at the airports. But when so many voices taken seriously call for the killing of the head of WikiLeaks, we see how far there is to go if American society is to meaningfully embrace the fundamental values of liberty and individual rights.

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