Happy Birthday, Julian

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.


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