Daniel Ellsberg’s book Secrets provides an extraordinary description of the seductiveness of secrecy. Those government members granted high security clearances experience emotions ranging from exhiliration to shame – and eventually contempt for everyone without access to secret Information themselves. This presentation will use Ellsberg’s account to discuss how the mechanisms of access to vital information leads well-intentioned people to become accomplices to major crimes, and to explore how the psychology of privileged Access undermines the attitudes and instincts that Democracy requires.
Susan Neiman is Director of the Einstein Forum. She studied philosophy at Harvard and the Freie Universität Berlin, and taught philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv University. Her most recent book is Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists (Harcourt, 2008); other publications include Evil in Modern Thought, Fremde Sehen Anders, The Unity of Reason, and Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin.