An old friend pointed out to me a few minutes ago, out of the blue, that Julian Assange turns 43 today. I am ambivalent about that fact. On the one hand, if there had never been a Wikileaks, somebody would have had to invent it, if for no other reason that to provoke a worthy, urgent discussion about the nature of government and secrecy. Those sorts of debates need to be incited about once every generation to ensure that freedom does not die a slow, silent death.
Nonetheless, I find myself wishing that Wikileaks had been founded and led by someone who was neither an entirely unpleasant human being nor an amoral one. To be guided by the principle that the only secrets that a government should keep are those that will ensure the safety of her people is a fine thing. But to be guided by the idea that there should be no secrets, regardless of who gets hurt, is at best naiveté and at worst sociopathic.
If Julian Assange is less free today than he was before starting Wikileaks, it is perhaps because he has failed to convince the world that he is more than just a highly articulate man who uses fine language, but who in the end just wants to sit back and watch the world burn.
“The Perils of Making Racial Insensitivity a Firing Offense”
April 1, 2014
I enjoyed this article by Friedersdorf, which was by and large balanced, and I will be interested to see whether and how Stephen Colbert takes his pseudo-conservative persona to his new role as David Letterman’s successor.
I have long been ambivalent about The Colbert Report. Doubtless the lowest-common-denominator, William-F-Buckley-must-be-spinning-in-his-grave far-right yakmeisters have earned their fair share of parody, and Colbert has done that with laughter rather than rancor, for which he deserves credit.
But even on his worst day, I’d never argue for his ouster. He is a comedian, and he is entitled to some license, even if that offends people. If you can argue that Lenny Bruce should not have been censored, you are a hypocrite if you don’t stand up for Stephen Colbert.
In the meantime, we would do well to remember that whatever Suey Park and her followers are, they are not “liberal” in any sense of the word. Indeed, she and they demonstrate that the radical left is anything but liberal. Those of us with any sense of history will hear in their cries the chilling echoes of mid-20th century fascism.
Into a social media discussion about the growing intolerance of the Left, an apparent representative of that side of the political spectrum noted:
How can you look at teabillies and the lockstep gop [sic] congress who are killing Americans and complain about intolerant conformity on the Left.
To which I responded (fairly reasonably, I thought):
The point is that there are intolerant idiots on both sides of the American political centerline, just as there are intelligent, thinking, and well-meaning people on both sides. I think many of us would agree that the problems we see reflected across the aisle are manifestations of minority extremism, not of the less shrill, less visible majority.
I really thought that would end the discussion. Alas, this gentleman was having none of that, choosing to take a Pelosian “only they are evil, we are pure” stance.
The difference is we make bigots resign and teabillies kill and starve Americans.
At that point, there was nothing to do but to point out exactly how incredibly ahistorical his statement was.
You make bigots resign? Would you like me to start with Lyndon B. Johnson and work forward?
How about Joe Biden, who said “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking!”
We are not going to fix the problems in this country if we insist on categorizing our side as uniformly good, and the other side as purely evil. That kind of ideological warfare will sunder this nation, not make it the place we all want to live.