Tuesday, December 07, 2010

One person who understands what is at stake with the Wikileaks persecution

CNBC senior editor John Carney:

The War Against WikiLeaks Is Worse Than WikiLeaks

The entire editorial is well worth reading, but I want to draw particular attention to one paragraph:

But it's a mistake to ignore the effect of this. It makes it appear as if the Free World is rapidly becoming a Closed World, in which dissenters are hounded out of public life. It only makes matters worse that it is possible that this is all happening without actual government pressure—that private actors are lining up to do the bidding of the government.


I am tempted to argue that it is the purpose of the corporate world to restrict people, but that would be crossing the line into overt (and silly) paranoia. More realistically, it is simply in the nature of highly regimented organizations (which all corporations are) to attract people who flourish in that environment. These people, in turn, prefer to see that portion of the world within their realm of influence brought into compliance with their preference for order--which to them implies proper submission to legitimate authority. Little or no central control is required in order to induce action on a particular issue. Broad suggestions or hints from some higher authority are often more than adequate. It's in the nature of authoritarians not just to comply with authority, but to further the cause of authoritarianism.

As for the quote, things have long been past the point of simply "appearing" that dissenters are hounded out of public life. What's unusual about the Wikileaks case isn't that the site and its editor Julian Assange are being hounded, it's that so much attention is being paid to it. He managed to capture the public eye before the powers that be had fully decided he was a significant threat (except for the question of him being wanted in Sweden on "sex crimes" charges, a side issue which is turning out to be fairly complex, but it certainly seems possible at this point that some type of behind-the-scenes government pressure is at work--more to come on this later).



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