Diplomats Should Shut Up

A bigger problem than our undisciplined classification system may be our undisciplined diplomats, says Judge Richard Posner in the wake of the WikiLeaks scandal.

It is remarkable how often businessmen, public officials, celebrities, and, for that matter, nobodies, get themselves into trouble by indiscreet e-mailing. They can’t control themselves. It is partly because e-mail feels private—you’re all alone with your laptop or your handheld device. But it’s also because modern people in rich countries cannot shut up. They are constantly communicating, usually banally, because in America everyone is a king and thinks that any thought that occurs to him or her is worthy of being communicated, preferably to many people. They blog, they tweet, they post random thoughts on their Facebook wall—and, if they’re diplomats, they send undiplomatic cables to their colleagues and superiors.

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