Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Assange On The Run

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been placed on Interpol's most wanted fugitives list, not, authorities insist, for the activities of his website, but for alleged rape and sexual assault in his adopted home of Sweden. Riiight. I'm no fan of Assange - he's a sanctimonious ass who cloaks himself in the mantle of free speech and postures as a human rights activist, while paying very little attention to the actual human costs of his info dumps. Furthermore, he's an awful hypocrite - transparency is fine and well, and an informed populace must hold its government's feet to the fire for democracy to function, but there's more than a bit of irony in this self-appointed revelator of government misdeeds that get innocent people killed being a man whose indiscriminate leaks get innocent people killed. But I have to think these charges may have been trumped up in an effort to bring him down. It's not like people haven't noted the logic of taking him out (literally or figuratively).

Despite my mistrust of the government, I can't muster too much sympathy for Assange. We need muckrackers - but we don't need zealots who see the world in black and white, with themselves in firm service of the latter. Absolute moral conviction is a very dangerous thing in the wrong people, and Assange is one of the wrong people. If he is brought down, hopefully whoever replaces him as the celebrity antigovernment activist du jour will be someone with a greater sensitivity to the power of free information to do harm as well as good.

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