Open secrets and the hearsay rule

The “feasting” on Wikileaks’ release of supposedly secret stuff raises a philosophical problem regarding open secrets – in particular, what we should do with them.

Here’s a dictionary definition:

open secret – something that is supposed to be secret but is generally known; “their love affair was an open secret”

It is open because it’s told and re-told, with a warning that well, it’s a secret.  But consider.

If true, it is something we prefer to know but not tell.  But despite the preference, enough of us will tell.

If false, it is packaged as truth subject to a Hollywood concept, supposedly borrowed from the CIA, of “plausible deniability.” Therefore, it’s also supposed to be both true AND false.  Confusing?

How do we then tell if an open secret is true or false, both, or a maybe?

Does it matter? If true, it helps us understand ourselves. If false, well, that’s why it’s a secret. If maybe, then let it be.  If both true and false, you can take your pick, which many do on climate change.

If anyone feels libeled by an open secret, he is either a fake or one who can’t take the heat. Open secrets is a non-legal defense in a libel suit.

Still and all, an open secret doesn’t prove what it contains. That’s the hearsay rule.


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