The most far reaching issue to surface in the recent election was raised by the Wikileaks disclosures. Not one of the documents they released to the public has been disputed or shown to be a forgery.
This mechanism pulled the covers off the communications of public officials to reveal unethical, criminal, fraudulent, self-dealing, graft, and corruption, by the scolds who, even today after all the disclosures, continue to lecture the rest of the country on a host of issues in order to lasso some future votes.
Imagine what’s in the communications of the rest of the political class. I’m sure some of it’s ethical, public spirited, selfless, and lives up to the highest expectations of the electorate. Just as I’m sure the character of the Clinton camp disclosures is not unique.
Wikileaks showed us what the Founders knew very well—the corrupting influence of power. They designed our system to frustrate this ubiquitous feature of human nature by creating a Constitution of limitations on government power, complete with a rigorous amendment mechanism to change that Constitution. They didn’t want it tampered with lightly, and they certainly didn’t want unelected judges to be able to effectively modify it with case decisions.
So, our government invests billions to keep the communications of public officials secret, and at the same time, to de-cloak the secret communications of citizens. If the secret communications of public officials could be relied upon to be ethical, public spirited, selfless, genuine, and in good faith, such expenditures might be justified.
But that is not human nature, not when the Founders wrote the system, and not now, thank you Ms. Clinton for reminding us. We must not lose sight of this important lesson.
Moreover, since it’s been shown that government communications can be used to hide the self-dealing of public officials from the purifying sunlight of disclosure, the goal of government cyber security must encompass this reality.
Public security without public accountability is a license to steal from the public treasuries of governments all over the world. This is a much bigger issue than who won the election and what their rhetoric promises.
The fabric of our constitutionally limited system has been breached. Securing the breach is a bandaid that may scab over the lesion, but not cure the underlying disease—because it’s human nature and incurable!
The answer that the Founders came up with was to not trust the government to cure itself. Their system created a tension of balancing interests to keep the various power centers in check.
Public cyber security introduced the ability for public officials to create new power centers not anticipated, or subject to balancing, by traditional constitutional devices.
So, how do we allow our government officials to keep bona fide secrets, while at the same time, not provide communications shelter for public official malfeasance? In other words, how do we fix what is happening right now?
That’s the most important issue we should be discussing after this election. We have a constitutional crisis already. This noise about the electoral college and the legitimacy of candidates is a sideshow.