Tuesday, November 30, 2010


   Most people have already seen the headlines about Wikileaks, as well as the outraged blowback from the global leadership.  The details of the content itself are irrelevant, as is the revelation of what people in other nations think about what is being said about them -- I'm sure that Vladimir Putin probably has some distinctly unkind things to say about his counterparts, even as he does business with them.  No one is vain enough to think that nothing bad is said about them or that everyone likes them, even at the level of national leadership. 

   What is relevant from the perspective of the Leibowitz Society is the fact that these secrets were able to be released in the first place.  Much like a bickering family, the global community of nations has its share of arguments, disagreements, and grudges.  Yet there is also a need for national leaderships to be able to talk to each other and sort out these problems and disagreements out of the sight of the public eye where leaders can be frank and not worry about what other nations are thinking of what they are doing, nor worry about public reaction where the public may not have the whole picture. 

   National leaderships, when they communicate, are using trust as their currency of exchange, in essence.  They have to be able to trust that what is being said is going to stay between them in order to be able to have open and free communication and private.  Now that these leaks have exposed things that weren't meant to be exposed, is this going to lead to a climate where national leaderships begin refusing to discuss private matters, or at least are much more guarded when it comes to these serious matter?  For all the talk of "information wants to be free," the flip side of the coin is that there needs to be some sense of the consequences of releasing some information.

   In a way, this parallels the increasingly shaky monetary system in the world, especially the troubles with the dollar and being tied to the massive United States debt.  Just as nations will begin losing faith in the ability of the currency to reflect any kind of value, they will also begin losing faith in the worthiness of diplomatic communications to resolve problems that might otherwise grow to be more drastic and require more extreme solutions (economic or actual war).  Once nations quit trading with each other and quit talking with each other, we are one more step toward a new Dark Age.

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    I wanted to add a brief note here.  While I talk a lot about how economics, and unsustainable economic practices, are related to ,and contributing to, the next Dark Age, I think it's worth mentioning that humanity can experience a Dark Age from a number of sources, be it war, plague, a meteor strike and so on.  Imagine what the effect would have been on the world had the Black Plague been 95% lethal, instead of around 33%?  Or if we saw a very nasty strain of bird flu erupt?  The odds of all these things happening are not necessarily high, but they are real enough for people to at least put some thought to how to get though them.  I want to encourage people to think of ways how to rebuild afterward, not just survive.

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