THE FOURTH ESTATE
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, pepinsky.blogspot.com
February 8, 2011
In a 1987 book chapter, I celebrated “information sharing as a human right.” Years earlier, my late friend, colleague and mentor, Les Wilkins, pointed out to me and our students that information defies Newtonian laws of entropy. Once you share honest information in your relations, you and those you share life with become more sustaining together. Two home builders sharing information and tasks can build homes more than twice as either could do alone. In defiance of the law of entropy, this is human synergy in action. Meanwhile, as Les emphasized, once information is out, you can’t put it back. Information cannot be put back in anyone’s box. And as now in Egypt for example, political consequences are indeterminate. Would that my president and state secretary keep their “solutions” to Egyptian problems to themselves.
I entertain hope when voices are more freely heard. From there, let change take its own course. My hope for human progress is encouraged by the triumph of open communication over spin by powerbrokers.
Political change can happen overnight. Cultural change In wielding power takes generations. The fourth estate, freedom of information about how we are governed, is my primary source of hope for humanity. Families whose livelihoods depend on privileges of government will not go lightly, if they go at all. Who’s on top remains up for grabs. The US government would do well to avoid making pronouncements, let alone taking sides, in an Egyptian struggle. Meanwhile, the fourth estate is the best public servant Egyptians and US have in the political event, as surely as the benefit of Wikipedia links about US diplomatic duplicity. Love and peace--hal