Posted by Charles Cameron on December 17th, 2010 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
Since my “HipBone” analytical approach, like the HipBone Games which inspired it, is based on networks of linkages between one “representable” (concept, fact, quote, anecdote, sound, musical phrase, image, video clip, statistic, cultural form, person) and another, there’s a special place in my analytic thinking for those representables which are self-referential – the category that gave rise to Douglas Hofstadter’s celebrated book, Gödel, Escher, Bach.
Indeed, I have a special glyph that I use in my games to notate ideas that are self-referential:
Okay, enough poetry for now.
The WikiLeaks business gives rise to one such self-referential puzzle – the one famously minted in classical times under the Latin tag: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Just how you tend to interpret the tag in English may depend on whether you read “custodes” as “guards” or “watchmen” – who shall guard the guards, who shall oversee the overseers, who shall watch over the watchmen…
But what does this have to do with WikiLeaks?
Let me rephrase it: Who will leak the leakers?
I mean, if transparency is so universal a good, will Julian Assange drop his encryption and allow us all (IC and foreign equivalents included) to access WikiLeaks databases at any time, leaking whatever we think might be of interest without consulting him?
Or is the point that some opacity, some secrecy is good — and Julian Assange believes he knows which secrecy that is, and can be trusted to reveal that which should be revealed and keep secret that which should be kept secret?
Perhaps the WikiLeaks paradox is a koan.