Recently, news of Julian Assange and the leaked cables on Wikileaks has sparked furious opinions all over the place. Some claim Assange is a terrorist. Some laud his actions. Banks close his accounts and servers refuse to host his website. There are people calling for his assassination, or for him to be on the “kill list” of people to be shot on sight without trial.
If it’s your personal opinion that Assange is a terrorist who deserves to be shot, then fine. It is my personal opinion that he should instead be applauded. As Republican representative Ron Paul of Texas said,
In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it…This is media, isn’t it? I mean, why don’t we prosecute The New York Times or anybody that releases this?
Since the creation of government, there has been a need for people outside the institution to question its methods, morals, and actions to make the government accountable for its actions. It is not always possible to protest or lobby within the framework of the institution and hope that those efforts will be enough to change things. Sometimes it is the framework itself that is warped, and there needs to be a nudge (or a blow) from the outside that forces it to dissolve an realign itself into a more proper form. If government goes too long unchallenged, it grows stagnant, stale, corroded, and complacent. Politics needs to be more than just politicians in a cat fight over the other party’s positions. It needs to be about making a change in America, about doing what is right instead of what merely benefits themselves. The current government, for example: the Republicans in Senate who make it their top priority to deny Obama a second term? Or how about basically boycotting Congress until they get the tax cuts they want for the top 2% of wealthiest Americans?
Instead, there are people attempting to stop discussion about it. This one campus, for example, sent out an email to its students warning them not to comment about Wikileaks on Twitter or their blogs, because it would call into question their ability to deal with confidential information, AKA affect their chances of landing a job with the federal government.
It’s not that I believe that the information per se Julian Assange is leaking should be public domain, or that releasing US diplomatic cables is the right thing to do. I just believe that government needs shake-ups like this every now and again to keep it on its toes.
And whatever potential federal employers say, this has nothing to do with my ability to deal with confidential information. This is me, as a citizen, having an opinion and voicing it. If you would rather have a bunch of automatons working in your offices, go buy some robots from Japan. They’d love your business.
On a related note, this is just sad.