Sunday, April 03, 2011

Understanding Julian Assange and Wikileaks

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Sixty Minutes has prepared a 26minute interview with Julian Assange. You can see the YouTube footage below. This was a good interview, with no inherent bias, and very fair questions. The interview allayed my concerns that Julian Assange is motivated by dubious values. He identifies as a 'libertarian', which is superficially a healthy disposition, but ultimately it would be desirable about his deeper values. Why? Because he has the capacity to hurt people. There have been a few instances in which he has released information potentially injurious to people:
1. Informants in Afghanistan - This is a charge made by the US State Dept. This need not be valid criticism, but its noteeworthy, as the State Dept is surely politically biased.
2. Bank privacy - He has released private client documentation from people who are concealing assets in Swiss banks. He might argue that these people are tax evaders. The reality is that based on their values, they might have good reason to evade tax. i.e. They might not believe in taxation, or 'the system'. Ought they be persecuted by his standards?
This is worrisome coming from a Libertarian. The problem with his campaign is that there is every risk that he will not remain true to the US revolution tradition. More concerning is that he might make the same mistakes as it, by failing to develop a deeper philosophical conviction.
Irrespective of his future actions, he is not someone who ought to be persecuted. He is acting in 'good faith', and any lives lost through his actions are so small in number compared to the lives saved, they pale into insignificance. He is fighting a war against illegitimate government, and lives might be lost. But unlike the State Dept, he is not intentionally doing so. The State Dept in contrast, can be expected to kill people to force compliance. The State Dept does not want a repeat of WikiLeaks. It does not want a plethora of 'copy-cat' sites. The reality is that there is every prospect of that.

Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?