Friday, November 28, 2008

[the whistleblowers a special kind of mind

Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Damien Green, Jeffrey Wigand, Frederic Whitehurst, Paul van Buitenen, EU Serf, Peter Wright, Craig Murray, Marta Andreasen, Terry Battersby, Oskar Schindler, David Kelly and Daniel Ellsberg all had certain things in common:

1. They blew the whistle on clear misbehaviour and scandalous conduct of organizations;

2. They put up with vilification, stalking, character assassination, threats, ostracism; they lost a lot of goodwill which had been built up over a long period of time. Each was faced by monolithic stupidity, the automatic attempt to cover-up and maintain lies - exactly the opposite approach to the efficacious one and the heavier the pressure, the more they dug in;

They were told many times to let it go, that no one was interested, [which was true, e.g. with Watergate], they were told that the destruction to themselves would outweigh any benefits, they saw that it was a near impossible task ... and still they kept going because they knew there had been grave injustice done. That takes a special type of mind;

4. None stood to gain personally from it. There was no money in it, they were never going to be accepted again, there was zero percentage, personally ... and yet they continued, on autopilot, to the bitter end. They put their careers on the line over a prolonged period of time;

5. In the end they were vindicated. Sooner or later [usually later], truth will out.

A whistleblower, despite what detractors try to sheet home, is not an egoist - there is nothing in it for him personally, except eventual vindication. He is not after revenge but justice and it does dirt on these men and women to suggest that it is ego which motivates them. It is the bloodhound mentality, the sleuth's, the Sherlock Holmes's, the bit between the teeth which drives them on.

You could no more tell Poirot to just leave it and "move on" , that "no-one's interested", than you could Eliot Ness. You could no more tell a political blogger not to fisk as you could a cat not to chase a piece of string. To fisk, to expose, this is the stuff of life to a political blogger. When he comes across a wrong and it is clearly in the interest of the community for it to be righted, he thinks hard for some time and then, if there is clearly no choice, in all conscience, he tries to set it right.

To paraphrase Damian Green: "It's my duty; it's what I must do."

Here is an earlier article on the issue with a slightly different slant.

4 comments:

UBERMOUTH said...

You keep blowing your whistle.

I have a bugle in my pocket and I'm not afraid to use it.:)

Anonymous said...

James, something has puzzled me for a few months, and there never seems an apt time to ask, so here goes...

What was behind the decision to use the name "Nourishing Obscurity"?

Anonymous said...

Definitely one worth watching.............NWO

James Higham said...

Uber - :)

Anon - click on the name in my nav bar. :)