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Can we become an America WikiLeaks can't assail?

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Writing for the center-right Le Figaro, French journalist Renaud Girard said: "What is most fascinating is that we see no cynicism in U.S. diplomacy. They really believe in human rights in Africa and China and Russia and Asia. They really believe in democracy and human rights."

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Yes, we really do.

If Americans are guilty of anything, he said, it is being a little naive. Let's plead guilty as charged and get on with it.

With gratitude, we even find a friend on the left. Another French journalist, Laurent Joffrin, editor of the leftist Liberation, conceded that we should not necessarily accept a "demand for transparency at any price."

It would seem that we face several imperatives at this juncture: First, remain calm. Hysteria is not helpful. Second, accept that our world has changed in terms of what can be expected as "private" and behave accordingly. Third, all hands on deck as we work to reconcile our better angels with our fallen selves.

With the exception of our military, we are a flabby lot, and I'm not just talking about girth. We are merely disgusting in that department. I'm talking about our self-discipline, our individual will, our self-respect, our voluntary order.

Note the operative words: self, individual and voluntary.

We don't need bureaucrats and politicians to dictate how to behave; how to spend (or save); what and how to eat. We need to be the people we were meant to be: strong, resilient, disciplined, entrepreneurial, focused, wise, playful, humorous, humble, thoughtful and, please, self-deprecating. We have all the tools and opportunities a planet can confer.

It's still a jungle out there, however, and the weak lose every time. The lack of respect from other countries, the ridicule from thugs and the WikiLeaks celebration are part of the same cloth. We can do what's necessary - tighten our belts, get tough, grab our shovels. To do less is to surrender to victimhood and the fates that befall those who decline to govern themselves.

kathleenparker@washpost.com


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