Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wikileaks is a Threat to All of Us Who Value Free Speech

The world cannot afford to have someone like Julian Assange doing what he is doing. He is destroying the system of international diplomacy, which will make (actually has already made) the world less safe and ultimately will cause more wars and make current ones last longer that would otherwise be the case. If diplomats cannot operate in private, then vital government-to-government communication is inhibited and misunderstandings lead to a higher level of international conflict.

So he will have to be stopped. The question is at what cost.

It seems to me the Wikileaks would like to see the US government try to shut down the Internet. They may mistakenly believe that this would "prove" some wacky conspiracy theories about a neo-con cabal that runs the world and is behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They seem to think that a tiny cabal controls the US government and is totally evil. If only this cabal could be stopped, world peace would break out everywhere because mankind is basically good - apart from the wicked neo-con cabal that controls the US government, of course. That is what I gather they appear to believe from their garbled, juvenile rantings. But who knows. Maybe they are just nihilists. Or maybe they are as dumb as bag of hammers.

ABC News reports:

he arrest and detention of Julian Assange Tuesday on charges of rape and sexual assault was at the least a convenient development for government leaders who've sought ways to contain the leader of the controversial website Wikileaks.

But in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Jim Sciutto, Wikileaks' spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson insisted Assange's arrest won't alter the site's calculated release of thousands of secret government cables, which still continues according to plan. The site published a new slate of cables Wednesday.

"It is not derailing us in any way," said Hrafnsson, adding that a group of five to six people is running Wikileaks' operations in Assange's absence. "This is a turning tide and starting a trend that you can't really stop unless you want to shut down the Internet."

What is with this ridiculous "We are the persecuted minority and the US government is out to get us because they just hate liberty" line? Who can make sense of what goes on in the minds of these people?

The most likely outcome of this fiasco is more censorship of the web - exactly what they claim to be fighting. They are causing what they claim to be against. They are either lying about what they want or they are very stupid. But one thing is for sure:

A people that cannot govern itself by individual moral restraint invites top-down, authoritarian, micro-management of their lives by a government placed there by people fed up with chaos.

That is where this is going and that is a tragedy for all of us who value free speech.

4 comments:

Gordon Hackman said...

I agree they are juvenile. Their radical "free speech" stance comes off like so much self-important, narcissistic posturing. Unfortunately, this seems to be the way many people now think about political issues. It's all about what's cool and what makes us feel like we are rebellious and radical. I'm sick to death of it.

Tim Bertolet said...

"A people that cannot govern itself by individual moral restraint invites top-down, authoritarian, micro-management of their lives by a government placed there by people fed up with chaos. "

Reminded me of a line in Michael Novak's "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism"

He writes, "Where self-government is not possible in personal life, it remains to be seen whether it is possible in the republic. Every prognosis based upon world history would suggest that lack of self-government in the individual citizenry will lead to a lack of restraint in the government of the republic." (p.170).

The sad irony of wiki-leaks is they think they are "sticking it to 'the man.'" By and large they are actually empowering 'the man' particularly in the court of public opinion.

Thanks for the blog, I've been a regularly reader for a number of weeks.

Dan said...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Just asking. It seems that rules of international diplomacy were designed for a period of far more authoritarian forms of government. If we are truly supposed to have limited, constitutional forms of government that are backed by popular sovereignty and so on is it not reasonable that the people be able to find out what our public servants are doing? There are of course exceptional cases involving some forms of policing or intelligence gathering, but by and large democratic governments should be pursuing the objectives they publicly say they are pursuing.

If the web has remained thus far uncensored simply because no one has had the temerity to really embarrass the ruling classes with it, then it was never really "uncensored" was it? Assange has always creeped me out, I don't think it's right for anyone to lionize this man, but that does not invalidate the idea that governments in free, democratic societies should ostensibly being doing things that they were elected to do.

Craig Carter said...

Dan,
There is no logical connection whatsoever between the proposition "governments in free, democratic societies should ostensibly being doing things that they were elected to do." and the justification of the stealing and publishing of private communications between governments.

Pretending that Assange's anarchism is about freedom of information is just not credible. But if that is not what you meant to imply, maybe it would be good to say so.