Most rational people realise that it’s a good thing that people can’t read others’ minds. Peoples’ internal monologues and internal dialogues are secret because, as human beings, we need space to evaluate information from all parts of our consciousness in order to allow our conscious brain to take sensible decisions.
It has often been observed that governments, particularly the US government, is like a body; the diplomats send messages, like nerves, back through the diplomatic cable channels, and then the administration, theoretically the brains of the operation, turns those thousands of signals into coherent sensations of the world around it, then thoughts, and then decides on what to do about what it has learned.
Sometimes, our nerves misfire. We think we feel pains sometimes which we can’t explain. We shudder sometimes for no logical reason. And sometimes diplomats, who really, really want their cables to be sent up to Hillary and Barack, make sure they’re nicely pungent.
Either way, it’s up to Barack and Hillary to decide whether to act on a cable, and it’s a bloody good thing their diplomats are able to contact them and give them honest assessments of the world in which they operate. It’s sometimes to be regretted that their diplomats aren’t very respectful of the subjects and objects of their diplomacy, but I am certain that, were the shoe on the other foot, every nation’s cables would read pretty poorly.
We don’t want anyone to be able to read our minds, because we know we are self-regulating. We decide consciously what to communicate to one another. So we don’t, if we’re standing next to someone with a hideous tie, actually say something to him, and we certainly don’t announce it in the keynote. And if Barack Obama did agree that David Cameron is a ‘lightweight’, hopefully he’ll be intelligent enough to speak to the Prime Minister in the coming days to clear the air.
Imagine how awful and destructive it would be if someone was able to read our minds and tell everyone about it. Every time we see a tic in our loved ones’ personalities that disturbs us, they would know; it would be impossible to evaluate decisions and make determined choices. That is the problem WikiLeaks now presents the US government.
Julian Assange and his enterprise have the wonderful problem of power without any responsibility; as a media outlet with a monopoly on the material they’re able to deliver, they can capture the public imagination like no other media outlet. But their activity guarantees that the business of orderly and effective government is now going to be much more difficult, more expensive and much more tense and uncomfortable.