As life in the 21st century gets loopier and loopier, the truly deranged come out of the woodwork, passing themselves off as benefactors of mankind, candidates for sainthood, etc. Maybe -- who knows -- candidates for another Pulitzer Prize: something The New York Times hardly needs, but self-inflicted moral grandeur can do odd things to you.
The New York Times' official rationale for publishing "a cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years," is the public's supposed "right to know what is being done in their name" by their diplomats.
The cables being made public in serial fashion -- not just in the Times but in several left-wing European publications -- "tell the unvarnished story," the Times says, "of how the government makes its biggest decisions, the decisions that cost the country most heavily in lives and money. They shed light on the motivations -- and, in some cases, duplicity -- of allies on the receiving end of American courtship and foreign aid."
We the people, on the Times' showing, need to know. Everybody, it seems, needs to know The Truth. Let it all hang out. Let freedom ring and Satan take the hindmost. Blah, blah, blah.
I think many of us, if the real truth be told, have never heard such exalted bullcorn -- such self-serving claptrap.
America's allegedly greatest newspaper, far from further entrenching the Right to Know, serves notice of just how daft we all must have gotten while no one was looking.
The Australian whose WikiLeaks website obtained and volunteered to share the secret documents is nutty as a fruitcake, not least in his anti-Americanism. The editors who are publishing the documents -- including those at The New York Times -- are likewise nutty.
Hillary Clinton bromidically suggests that spilling the beans on American opinions of foreign leaders, and on American concerns about Iran and nuclear weapons, won't destroy our foreign relationships. She could be right. She could be wrong. The real point is elsewhere. It takes the form of a question: What have we come to when morally disconnected folk inside and outside the great communication media of our day put on Olympian airs -- as if human restraints had nothing to do with them. As if their instincts alone were sovereign; their understandings of What We All Need, whether we know it or not, enjoyed divine status. The editors of the Times know what's good for us. Just ask 'em.