[THS] !!!! Why Our Govt Would Fear Wikiarguments More than WikiLeaks
The Harder Stuff in news and commentary
ths at psalience.org
Wed Feb 16 14:51:58 CET 2011
Why Our Government Would Fear Wikiarguments More than WikiLeaks
By Carmen Yarrusso
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
February 15, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- In its landmark ruling on the
Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court said: Only a free and unrestrained press
can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the
responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from
deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers
and foreign shot and shell.
Our free press is clearly abdicating its responsibilities. Worse yet, mainstream media
do much more to aid and abet government deception than to expose it. For example,
The New York Times and The Washington Post functioned as cheerleaders to deceive
the people in Americas disastrous, illegal invasion of Iraq. Enter WikiLeaks to take on
a job shirked by our free press.
Our government fears WikiLeaks, not because it poses a national security threat, but
because it exposes government deception. Deception is the currency of our political
system. If our government couldnt lie to the people, our present system of lobbyists
transferring millions from special interests to our so-called representatives in return
for taxpayer billions would disintegrate.
Democracy requires that the people know the truth. The truth is our government
often lies to us. The truth is our governments foreign policies make us less secure
(were making enemies faster than we can kill them). The truth is government
deception is used to justify spending trillions on endless, illegal wars and on an
endless, bogus war on terror, which has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands
of foreigners and tens of thousands of Americans.
The truth is our government fears WikiLeaks because our government wants us to
remain blissfully ignorant of what its actually doing in our name with our tax dollars.
The truth is..., an enemy of our government and WikiLeaks enables that enemy.
Aspects of a Wikiarguments system
Wikiarguments is an Internet-based (wiki) system that would force congressional
accountability and make government deception much more difficult. It would provide
a secure mechanism for anonymous submissions to expose government deception,
but, more importantly, it would also provide a simple system of forced accountability
where our representatives could no longer evade giving us clear, rational
justifications for their positions (instead of the evasive, specious claptrap they typically
give us now).
We'd be able to visit an Internet site and view clear, rational arguments for all
Congressional bills - pro and con - side by side for easy comparison. We wouldnt
need mainstream media pundits to interpret government policies for us; wed be
getting both sides right from the horses mouth. Evasions and flawed reasoning by
either side would quickly become apparent. A search capability would allow us to find
the current best arguments - pro and con - for any bill in Congress.
When a bill is introduced, those "representatives" initiating the bill would be required
to post a clear, rational (wiki) argument explaining the merits of the bill. Those
opposing the bill would then be required to post their corresponding clear, rational
(wiki) argument explaining why the bill is unfair and shouldn't pass.
What makes a wikiarguments system such a powerful weapon against government
evasion and deception is this: the individual arguments are dynamic. As you will see,
dynamic arguments prevent lots of mischief and tend to punish liars while rewarding
truth-tellers. The individual wikiarguments would be managed much like Wikipedia
entries except there would be multiple entries per subject (pro and con arguments)
instead of the one entry per subject in Wikipedia.
Thus all members of Congress would be able to edit update and improve - the
wikiarguments they favor. Both sides of an issue would be free to update their
respective wikiargument as new facts emerge, to correct mistakes, or to highlight
flaws in the opposing wikiargument. In this manner, wikiarguments for both sides -
pro and con - would evolve as collaborative efforts, which would converge toward a
best (consensus) argument for each side of any given issue (bill).
A wikiarguments system would differ significantly from a forum-type venue - where
people argue back and forth - because the emphasis is on an evolving, converging,
end product: the current best argument(s) for each side of an issue. The emphasis
would be on building a clear, concise, rational argument for a given position, which
would then compete with its corresponding opposing - argument openly on the
The American people would watch as wikiarguments for each side evolve and do
battle on the Internet. Our "representatives" would not be able to fool us with
deceptions because any evasions, flaws, speciousness, or other deceptions would be
promptly emphasized in the corresponding opposing wikiarguments, which would be
posted on the Internet for the entire world to see.
But unfair bills are often supported by both political parties because both are typically
bribed by the same big money. How would a wikiarguments system force our
"representatives" to post honest arguments against such unfair bills? By providing
two additional - pro and con "shadow" wikiarguments for each issue that could be
edited anonymously by anyone on earth, like Wikipedia entries.
The American people would have direct input to legislation through these shadow
wikiarguments. A visitor to the site would view two pairs of pro and con
wikiarguments per issue (bill), one pair maintained by members of Congress and a
corresponding pair maintained by the public at large. If our "representatives" were in
cahoots, and not providing a cogent wikiargument against an unfair bill, the
corresponding (con) public wikiargument would expose the disingenuous (con)
Cogent wikiarguments would stand out starkly from specious wikiarguments. Why?
Because its relatively easy to construct clear, cogent arguments when truth is on
your side. But when truth isnt on your side, the best you can do is clever specious
But even clever specious arguments couldnt possibly survive the vast inquiry an
Internet-based wikiarguments system would subject them tothe whole world would
be watching and someone would point out flaws and deceptions. Dishonest
politicians would no longer be able to hide from us and shrink from inquiry.
The philosophy behind Wikiarguments; why it would revolutionize government
Our current political system, with crucial help from mainstream media, allows and
even promotes blatant deception and evasion by our government representatives.
Theyre never forced to justify their positions with clear, rational arguments (written
down so they can be scrutinized).
Currently, sponsors and supporters of unfair legislation typically offer shallow,
specious justifications (eagerly and uncritically passed on by mainstream media) and
then simply evade inquiry. Mainstream media do little to challenge these specious
justifications and when they do, our representatives simply spout more specious
nonsense until the clock runs out.
A wikiarguments system would prevent this evasion because it would require our
representatives to not only justify their positions initially, but, more importantly, to
defend them from ongoing inquiry using clear, rational written arguments. Unlike the
ephemeral TV interviews, debates, and public statements of our representatives,
their best wikiarguments would always be right there on the Internet subject to
scrutiny and inquiry by the American people.
The sheer idiocy of our current political system is easily illustrated. Unlike our
Congress, our Supreme Court does give us their best wikiarguments - pro and con
- to justify their votes (and we can see both sides on the Internet). Imagine if
Supreme Court Justices werent required to justify and defend their conclusions with
clear, (written) rational arguments. Suppose they could just vote and evade inquiry.
Would we not easily see the assault on truth under such a system? Would we not
easily see the sheer idiocy of such a system?
Imagine if scientists werent required to justify and defend their positions with clear,
(written) rational arguments. Suppose they could just present their conclusions and
evade inquiry. Would we not easily see the assault on truth under such a system?
Would we not easily see the sheer idiocy of such a system?
So why dont we easily see the assault on truth and the sheer idiocy of a political
system that allows our representatives to evade giving us their best rational
arguments for their positions? Is the integrity of our Congressional conclusions
somehow less important to our lives than the integrity of our Supreme Court
conclusions or our scientists conclusions?
Is it not sheer idiocy to hold our Supreme Court and scientists to a high standard of
truth, completely abandon that standard of truth for our representatives, and then
expect anything other than the immense wake of human suffering - clearly caused
by our corrupt government here and throughout the world?
Our representatives wont even discuss a health care system that costs half what
Americans pay, provides superior health care, and covers every citizen! You wont
find a clear, rational argument justifying this position anywhere. Is this not sheer
America manufactures and sells more weapons of mass destruction than any other
nation by far. We spend more on our defense budget than all other nations on
earth combined! You wont find a clear, rational argument justifying this position
anywhere. Is this not sheer idiocy?
Is it not sheer idiocy for us to allow our representatives to get away with feeding us
lies - as they give billions of our tax dollars to special interests - while causing massive
death and mayhem throughout the world?
We must demand a political system that seeks truth, instead of one that hides,
manipulates, and even manufactures truth. We must demand a political system
that creates policy using rational argument and open debate, instead of one that
creates policy using wheeling and dealing, coercion, and deception.
A wikiarguments system would hold our representatives to a minimum standard of
truth and enforce intellectual honesty in government. Surely that would be a
Carmen Yarrusso, a software engineer for 35 years, designed and modified computer
operating systems (including Internet software). He has a BS in physics and studied
game theory and formal logic during his years with the math department at
Brookhaven National Lab. He lives in New Hampshire and often writes about
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