“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
By now, we’ve all gone through the mourning period requisite to accept that any privacy we expected to have as American Citizens is dead. The War on Terror killed it. In a sense, Osama Bin Laden won. He’s spiking the football down in hell as we speak. If he hated us for our freedoms, he should lighten up a bit and chill. Those freedoms are increasingly becoming non-existent – a casualty of war so to speak.
The recent revelations of Edward Snowden, even if partially inflated by bravado and imagination, suggest that everything I’ve written above is the sad truth about Post-modern America. We are increasingly becoming The Orwell State.
And the people wielding all the special powers we enacted to fight The War on Terror still wield them without any let-up. They wield them without let-up right after they announced the war was coming to an end. So if the GWOT is over and done with, who does the administration consider the enemy? Or worse yet, does the administration even feel the need for an enemy? Do they consider the police state a naturally justifiable equilibrium? All of these questions above are fine and dandy for batting around the dorm hall amidst a cloud of epistemological bong smoke. If you don’t like the answers to any of the questions I’ve posited then here’s the only question that matters: what do you intend to do about it? Glenn Greenwald offers one response below.
Now contra John Maynard Keynes, the facts never change. They are the absolutes that according to Plato’s Parable of The Cave we see as shadows against the wall. But the spirit of the quote still holds true. When The Iron Clue-Bat of The Gods smacks you soundly across the cranium you are required to reevaluate your ratiocination if you still want to be considered rational. I’ve learned a lot in the past month. One thing I’ve learned is that Julian Assange actually had a point.
Assange employed himself in the business of spying on the world’s governments and putting their secrets out on the Internet. He enraged the various security workers around the world. I personally considered him a dilettante, a traitor and a plague representative of the current generation of vipers crawling around loose on the Internet like snakes on a plane. I don’t recall posting anything on Assange. If I did, it would have been highly critical and vituperative.
I considered it my duty as an American Citizen to trust the government to maintain my personal safety. In other words, if President Obama wanted to get tough on possible espionage and terrorism, I felt somewhat relieved to see him hang up the golf bag and cell phone and concentrate on the adequate performance of his duly elected position in life. Therefore, I considered the Wikileaks data-dump an act of treason that put my safety in jeopardy.
We all want to believe The Executive Branch of the United States Government is diligent in protecting our liberty and personal safety. I still want to. But unfortunately Mr. Logic and his evil twin Senor Realidad took me out back in the alley and kicked my 4th point of contact. So I’m still not completely a fan of what Assange did. He could very well get people I care about who are deployed to SW Asia killed. But I no longer see it as pointless.
Instead, someone could have asked Julian Assange the question I tossed out there in paragraph 3. What are you going to do about it? That was Assange’s answer. To many people it left a lot to be desired. Just how much depends on your answer to this question. Can you really give up a little liberty in return for a little security and either get or receive either? The administration tells us that these silly things won’t matter in the long run, but as Keynes would have explained, in the long run; we will all be dead. Maybe it’s better to be free in the short and middle run while you still remain alive.