Peter Singer on Wikileaks

We’ve been quiet at the Junta lately, preoccupied with summer and its attendant joys. The art event we had planned for June didn’t work out; sorry about that. But it’s only been postponed until fall, when city life gets back to normal – so don’t despair.

Meanwhile, here’s a thoughtful piece from Peter Singer in this month’s Harper’s. Singer is famous for Animal Liberation and was relevant in our discussion on food, but here he is talking about another recent Junta topic: Wikileaks.

Singer’s essay revolves around the Panopticon, the conception of a system in which everyone can be observed by a central authority, without knowing if we are being watched at any given moment. (Oddly, this is something I was recently thinking about.) Foucault called it “the perfection of power,” and Orwell dramatized it as Big Brother. Drawing a line from Rodney King to Julian Assange, Singer argues that the technology used to control us can be used against our controllers; therefore the Panopticon, icon of totalitarianism, is actually a great thing. Turns out we all behave better when we think we’re being watched.

This essay being behind the paywall, I’ve posted it here for your reading pleasure.

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