Why Does the Truth Always Hurt?

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I had a high regard for Gordon Crovitz when he was an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal some 25 years ago, but his piece there today is so mystifying that I wonder if the Journal’s site has been hacked. It’s not that Crovitz criticizes Wikileaks — there are many people who agree with him, for good or ill.  But Mr.Crovitz goes further, calling Julian Assange an “information anarchist,” which in the original Greek implies information without a foundation, or beginning; and thus, politically, information without a ruler.

Now, Mr. Crovitz’s  rejection of “information anarchy” raises the question, “who shall write the rules,” which leads to “who shall rule,” an abiding political question of the first magnitude. But Mr. Crovitz evades the obvious follow-up, “who should rule the flow of truth?” Instead, he compares Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. This intriguing misappropriation is so curious that it reminds me of Winston slaving away in the Ministry of Truth. After all, wasn’t it the Wall Street Journal which many years ago mocked the Unabomber’s writings by comparing them to those of Al Gore (result: they were barely distinguishable)? Yet I can find no one who has compared Julian Assange to Al Gore.

Is government information without rules really a dangerous thing? Mr. Crovitz, in a stretch, insists that such information can kill. But, while Assange has killed no one, our lawless rulers have killed tens of thousands of innocents, with the Wall Street Journal cheering them on, and their bipartisan crimes have been deftly swept into the memory hole. Well, here’s a clue:  Mr. Assange’s next data dump will reportedly address corporate crimes. Now, why wouldn’t the Journal and Mr. Crovitz welcome such a reporter’s bonanza? One would think that the business newspaper of record would celebrate such sunshine, no?

Could it be that the Journal might be embarrassed, or worse, by Wikileaks’ unruly avalanche of corporate information? Might its appearance even affect the answer to the fundamental question — “Who Shall Rule?” This gives rise to another central question: Which is more important — power or truth?

12:37 pm on December 6, 2010