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Friday, August 16, 2013

Jesse Walker writes about RAW (and government paranoia) for the Washington Post

Jesse Walker, in the Washington Post, on the federal government's crackdown on leaks. The anti-leak program has been adopted in many federal agencies that have nothing to do with national security. The piece does a good job of summarizing the various ways the Obama administration has shown that is is obsessed with government secrecy.

And he gets Robert Anton Wilson into the Washington Post! Excerpt:

Did anyone ever imagine a government so scared of its own shadow? I can think of at least two people who did. One is novelist and essayist Robert Anton Wilson, who often wrote satirically about conspiracies. Any secret police agency, he suggested, must be monitored by another arm of the government, lest it be infiltrated by its enemies. But then “a sinister infinite regress enters the game. Any elite second order police must be, also, subject to infiltration. . . . So it, too, must be monitored, by a secret-police-of-the-third-order” and so on. “In practice, of course, this cannot regress to mathematical infinity, but only to the point where every citizen is spying on every other citizen or until the funding runs out.” The point applies not just to police but to any hierarchy with secrets to hide.

Walker's Post piece links to his Reason article on "The Legacy of Robert Anton Wilson."

Some of the material in the piece is adapted from Walker's new book,  The United States of Paranoia, out next week. (More on that Monday, when my interview with Mr. Walker will run.)

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