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Should Institutions Have a Right to Secrets in a Free and Open Society?

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29th August 2014

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

"In 1984 there are four types of people, based largely on social rank" In reality there are four types of people understood according to our reaction to information. Idiots do not question substance or relevance. Zealots question in line and in accordance. Elitists question in order to advance power and finance. Patriots question curiously and openly, often enough in prevention of exploitation." ~ from The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism

It is impossible to say what transpires in secret institutional meetings. Perhaps secret meetings are concerned with the orchestration of world peace, cures for disease and the eradication of poverty. Heck, maybe they are deciding when the best time would be to release their perpetual motion machine! But I doubt it. Whatever the subjects, whatever the group, they believe commoners do not need to know.

Secretive Decision-Making

The notion of secret institutions and secretive decision-making are in direct opposition to the stated objectives of our free and open society, which employs institutions to serve its needs. For this reason, institutional secrets simply should not be. Institutions make plans within conceptualizations that do not recognize the individual, but which view a society as a single entity that must be controlled and influenced, dividing people according to their location, race, income or other conjured demographic reasoning -- thinking which always benefits an institution, never an individual.

"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings." ~ John F. Kennedy

After Hurricane Katrina, when the levees broke in New Orleans, many individual paramedics and rescue institutions were sent to New Orleans to help people. However the Police Chief from the nearby city of Gretna ordered the blockade of a bridge leading out of New Orleans, without explanation. Evacuees were met with a roadblock, shotgun fire and turned around, forced to remain in the dangerous confines of New Orleans. Was this a preplanned or an impromptu decision? What benefit could it have created for the individuals affected by such disastrous flooding? Either way, institutional thinking led institutional heads to regulate these circumstances in a way that contradicted the best interests -- and the will -- of the individuals.

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Those who believe they are elevated above others because of their role, race, social position, relation to a bridge, or other conjured concept are ignorant -- and their ignorance is strength to the institutions they serve. The fact is that ignorance serves to perpetuate institutions; the ignorance of their own representatives and especially of those outside those institutions. And while institutions may serve those who serve it in the short term, ultimately commercial and government institutions will always operate from a place of self-protection, striving only for the commercial profit or political power for which they exist.

Institutions act to keep information in order to gain and maintain power. Institutionalized secrets are never needed unless gaining and maintaining power are the priorities. If happiness and benevolence were planned by our institutions, the people would let them accomplish whatever it is that they plot! Secrets would not be necessary. Secrets are necessary only when malevolent operations are planned and revelation of the whole truth threatens the plan.

Today, the unknowns surrounding the secrecy of institutions cannot remain secret, for actuality cannot be hidden. Through our observation of actuality, keeping secrets, in reality, gives them away. To keep a secret requires concealment and half-truths, and such behavior reveals that one is operating covertly. Within institutions, such covert behavior reveals not just another lying politician or corporate head, but an elitist.

The Act of Concealment

Institutional secrets are only ever kept for elitist gains. Ultimately, information in a free and open society should be shared.

For argument's sake, suppose elitist secrets were benevolent. Rather than keep benevolent information secret, they would likely tell the world in order, to cast away any suspicion and to gain political acclaim. Politicians are popularity-seekers after all. Information would likely leak. Unless one is under the proverbial thumb of an evil authority, there would be no reason to keep a secret from a society that would benefit the individuals in that society. Ultimately, to withhold information, even about apparently benevolent activity, in itself indicates malevolence.

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But a secret about something malevolent is another, more obvious form of wickedness. Keeping secret information concerning active malevolency is an exponentially greater wrong. These secrets -- such as wartime activity and the nuclear destruction of our environment -- are perhaps easier to keep, because institutions would admit guilt by the revelation of their malevolency. No doubt, secrets are more closely guarded by institutions when their release means one's own demise.

The very act of concealment suggests a dark agenda. No matter what the motive, withholding information is still withholding information, and in a free and open society, that notion is repugnant.

Political, religious and corporate institutions separate themselves from ordinary people by having more power, clout, connections and wealth -- all mechanisms of a man-made economic structure of power and control. But most importantly, institutions maintain power over information. In the age of information, they separate themselves, like the "nobility" of the past, by keeping information to themselves and revealing (through the media they control) only what they want you to know. And by withholding such information, they reinforce the "pyramid system" in our society -- to their advantage -- for information is power, and individual ignorance is strength to institutions.

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About Ethan Indigo Smith:

Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan's work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.

The events of September 11, 2001 inspired him to write his first book, The Complete Patriot's Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism, an insightful exploration of history, philosophy and contemporary politics. His more recent publications include:

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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If it is a free and open society then yes, institu... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 11:30:30 AM
You do not understand the difference between insti... by Ethan Indigo Smith on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 12:11:54 PM
Is that the best you can do?Liberalism 101= when y... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:12:41 PM
I say you don't know your institution from your in... by Ethan Indigo Smith on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 6:38:19 PM
You said: "Secrets are necessary only when malevol... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 9:31:28 PM
Look, if you wanted to say something like mankind ... by Bill Johnson on Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014 at 10:13:14 PM
Bill, In this last comment you distinguish between... by Derryl Hermanutz on Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 9:59:38 AM
I bow to you for sharing all this wonderful inform... by Ethan Indigo Smith on Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:26:30 PM
Predatory capitalism dates back to Atlantis on thi... by AllTrust Unlimited on Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 at 7:12:39 PM