A Secret Message

     Secrecy.
     What is it good for?
     I’m not telling.
     No, just kidding. I don’t know the answer. Maybe you can tell me.
     I’ve been thinking about this because of several things that happened (or that I noticed happening) last week.
     First off, one of Bill Cosby’s lawyers expressed outrage – OUTRAGE!, damn it – that someone released a deposition in a case that had been settled confidentially.
     Then the Ashley Madison site for adultery hobbyists got hacked.
     Then I spotted an article about the Irish government considering allowing adopted people access to their birth certificates.
     You may be wondering why I’m looking at articles about the Irish government. I can’t explain it – my mind wanders.
     But back to my point – what do these secrecy stories have in common?
     The people benefiting from secrecy are the bad guys – Cosby, adulterers, parents who give up their kids. OK, that last group isn’t necessarily bad, but their kids are definitely the good guys.
     So what’s the benefit of secrecy if you’re not a bad or at least questionable guy?
     Some of you may be saying that government and large corporations need to keep things secret – but listen to yourself.
     Government and large corporations? Are those the good guys?
     Think torture, mass surveillance, mass merchandising of Twinkies.
     You see what I mean.
     I realize I have a professional bias when it comes to this topic. As a professional journalist, naturally I’m in favor of secrets: the more, the better.
     If there were no secrets to uncover, I’d be out of a job.
     But I’m going to take the noble, selfless road here and offer the obvious solution to this societal problem: complete openness.
     We can’t be harmed by secrets if there are none.
     Fortunately, mechanisms are already in place for this revolution. We shouldn’t be complaining about the National Security Agency listening to everybody – we should be encouraging it and putting the results online.
     (Ironic aside: The NSA is an organization that exposes secrets and it got mad because its secret was exposed. What goes around …)
     Google and Amazon and pretty much every other big company should do the same as the NSA.
     No more dirty secrets, an incentive not to do bad things, and a return to paper currency because you certainly couldn’t use credit for anything.
     We should also encourage heads of state to openly spy on each other and become Facebook friends.
     It will be a better world.
     By the way, if you’re really fond of secrets and don’t want to give them up, you can declare something secret even though it’s been around for everyone to read.
     Really. You can.
     Maybe.
     A least a spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign who issued a statement on Twitter last week seemed to think so. To wit: “Any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”
     So forget anything you read.
     Hmm. Maybe we’d all be happier if we had shorter attention spans and forgot things immediately.
     I know we want to bomb someone for something, but I can’t think of a good reason …
     We need to encourage more addicting television, smart phones and video games.
     There will be peace in our time.

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