A few months ago we were approached by Robert David Steele, pitching his book “The Open Source Everything Manifesto”. He came to us because our name, Open Spectrum. Apparently it resonated with the message he has spent the last decade putting forward.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of him. My first thoughts were of a conspiracy theorist bent on pushing his own agenda and simply trying to sell his book.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
The former CIA spy, professional Intelligence Officer and second-ranking civilian in the Marine Corps Intelligence agency had an epiphany in 1988 that the current state of governmental “intelligence” has been a failure. In his opinion, the quality of information that comes from open and transparent collaboration is far superior and has the public interest truly in mind.
Reading through this small but incredibly complex book is like a minefield of political and economic awakenings. If I wasn’t already educated (and disgusted) with the current state of political affairs, the ideas put forward in Steele’s book might have seemed too good to even be possible in today’s climate.
In his preface he states,
“I am not alone in the conviction that real, lasting national security can best be obtained through complete transparency of government, business, and other facets of society, and this includes open access to all of the many available types of information. This is intelligence with integrity, in the public interest — the alternative to hierarchical, elitist organizations that allow the few to profit at the expense of many…. The establishment of a transparent and open government, open society, and open economy that is truly of, by, and for We the People requires the self-actualization of We the People.”
The candor in which he writes, the impeccable qualifications and analogies, the amazing and thorough list of references continually astounded me. Moreover, it is his consistent and positive voice and the unfettered optimism he puts forward, that I believe, gives genuine hope for the future of this country. Revamping our broken system and faith in mankind in general is a must it seems.
The optimistic way he ends his arguments is different from many other writers I have come across. This particular statement blew me away, although I am not sure if I agree with it:
“One could argue that the American Empire has already been deposed; only in Washington, DC, and on Wall Street are they either in complete denial or making preparations for the last loot-fest before abandoning the ship of state they have sunk with greed. On the bright side, we have the promise of today’s rising digital youth.”
Later on, in Chapter 6: ‘Whole-Systems Thinking’, this quote gave me pause for thought:
“Government for the benefit of corporations externalizes the “true costs” of activities that are detrimental to humanity and the Earth. In the face of systemic deception and self-delusion ALL claims to the possibility of sustainable progress are fiction.
“Truth—the combination of intelligence and integrity as well as transparency—is the foundation for both understanding and eradicating these threats, while moving as quickly as possible toward what should be the human mantra toward the Earth and all species, ‘First, Do No Harm.’”
His belief in the future comes from three qualities: Transparency, Truth, and Trust.
I resonate with these three qualities strongly, hope you do too, and see Robert as a visionary worth paying serious attention to.
You can read his other writings on his blog: The Public Intelligence Blog: http://www.phibetaiota.net