Spy, Democracy and Politics

Does secrets ruined democracy? The question of intelligence

Each election, each political issue always refers to the place of secrecy in the public sphere, which is always opposes transparency, become the absolute political virtue. To answer the question “Should the secret partake in a democracy? “Back on the position of the secret agent whose existence is proving to be a symbol of the ambiguity of democracy.

Alain Dewerpe in a huge study called Spy. A historical anthropology of the contemporary state secret, argues that the figure of the spy is paradigmatic of the ambiguity of democracy, concentrating the power of secrecy and publicity. Unilaterally condemned for political and moral in the eighteen and nineteenth century before being partially rehabilitated in the twentieth century, the spy seems to conceal valuable clues that allow us to make him a major challenge for democracy. Indeed, both within a state that overseas, the secret agent is the agent of revelation but also the protector of secrets: it looks smuggle secret information in order to disclose. He discovered that both hide to reveal.

Spying and Diplomacy: The Spy and foreign policy

However, if the task of the spy is the same in the domestic and the external order of states, it appears that the two approaches can be distinguished. In fact, in relations between states, the question that occupies democracy can be formulated as follows: first in peace, must apply a clear diplomacy, clear to the other States and condemning secret diplomacy and the other in time of war, should we outlaw the use of intelligence practices as part of “abnormal”? In peacetime, it is clear that the failure of secret diplomacy did not abolish the secret between states, but simply moved to special services. What is the spies been delegated functions of the secret diplomacy. In this sense, if the figures of the diplomat and the spy object, the first being official, the second secret, they appear complementary in U.S. foreign policy, holding that Dewerpe called “state secret international ‘ . In times of war, and more certain still, the spy manages this war of knowledge and information which will be the key to victory. It has the dual role of see through the secrets of the enemy while protecting those of his country. Thus, secrecy, and the spy, such as the protection and disclosure, is the “matrix of contemporary wars.” The emphasis of the spy and the secret in the relations between states does not lead automatically to accept war as the inevitable fate of these reports: Kant, in his treatise aimed at bringing states to perpetual peace, recognized the need for a secret article for peace. It is thus clear relations between States are steeped in secrecy, which justify the use of spying. Maybe can we do hope that it continues in the international system, however it should then consider that it is composed solely of peaceful democracy. If Rousseau envisioned democracy as suitable only to a people of gods, we should also consider the same type of people that can stop the secret between states.

Espionage and domestic intelligence:

We must analyze the role of the spy in the report, internal state to its citizens. The persistence of the secret agent is often denounced as a stigma of the old regime, in which the prince used to protect against its own subjects, in short, the stigma of his distrust. However, should we necessarily consider, of course, as a system of surveillance of public opinion, but mostly as a system of control and repression? Proponents of a full advertising they do not confuse the collection of information, ie to know, and law enforcement? The maintenance of order in the name of national security can not it require a covert surveillance? In short, the requirement of efficiency is it always in line with the advertising? As monitoring is done within the law, it can not be justified by a struggle against the enemies of democracy? If the spy here symbolizes the fear of rape of privacy, espionage is, as the difference between man and citizen, be confined to the political existence of the citizens, not privacy.

But the attitude of citizens towards the secret, and thus the spy, is ambiguous. Indeed, far from the only victim as an object of secret spying, the citizen is also, paradoxically, applicant secrets. And this for two reasons: the first is that the citizen, as a man has secrets and acknowledges that collective rights in secret: he can request that other do not have secrets and ask his people are respected. The second because the citizen is comfortable and protective to load a part of society for the management of secrets: the citizen delegates the secret. The representative system not only involves the delegation of the will, but also of the secret. A tacit agreement is therefore made between rulers and ruled:

“The performance […] opens a delegation from the use of secrecy and it is never so efficient because it is, and also radically contradictory, the result of a request for confidentiality and a willingness to be deceived

The representative system is the system of secrecy as much as it is advertising. The delegation and the demand for secrecy led to the formation of a secret market parallel to that of advertising. Similarly, the advertising of a secret, that is to say its abolition, whether by spies themselves, through the media or by the system of declassification of documents, shows that ” the boundary between the occult and the manifest is located at the crossroads of a continuing set-aside and unveiling, construction and abolition of the secret, incessant traffic from one space to another. ”

Secrecy and scandal: the spy, a Democratic figure

The secret of publicity, which is always in the form of democracy on scandal, oscillates between a sense of legitimacy and of denunciation and demonstrates its persistence in contemporary politics. Here is a definition of “democratic secret” secret unlike the absolutist, which is absolute and final, secret part of a contemporary open sphere, it has become relative, may be revealed. It is no longer a nefandum, never kill a thing, that language can not make short, the unspeakable. The secret is this democratic body precarious, temporar, a product of acculturation of the secret to democracy, the public can still be discovered. There is even because it can be said, formulated statement and denounced “the secret only makes sense to be said, communicated.” The spy, in a general economy of contemporary secret opposition to a moral vision or moralizing of secrecy, and is the guardian of the border between the occult and the manifest. Forming a continuum, opacity and publicity are the “faces of the same coin,” that of contemporary democracy, because, as stated Dewerpe:

Not given to end in a kind of absolute and unequivocal desire […] the abolition of the secret, but rather [working] to reconstruct a new frontier of secrecy and obvious: it is this original border ensures that the spy of the twentieth century, one that seeks to abolish the secret that gives view by revealing, but also lies in this disclosure, plays the reserve, put aside and began to part, ambivalent figure of abolishing the secrecy and preserves, of which the attack and protect.”

The Spy, as a concept, helps to understand the role and function of secrecy in a democracy, as a mixed regime, whose ambiguity is built on the dialectic of secrecy and publicity.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Spy, Democracy and Politics, June 14, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, June 14, 2012, https://www.the-philosophy.com/spy-democracy-politics.

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