"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry."--Thomas Paine
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 America's 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 couldn't 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 government's foreign policies make us less secure (we're 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 it's actually doing in our name with our tax dollars. The truth is..., an enemy of our government and WikiLeaks enables that enemy. Enter Wikiarguments.
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 wouldn't need mainstream media pundits to interpret government policies for us; we'd be getting both sides right from the horse's 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 Internet.
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) government argument.