Saturday, December 04, 2010

Just because A is true doesn't mean B is false

Julian Assange may very well be a rapist. He's also very likely to be an egomaniac who hates America. These things can be true, and it's still important that we get information on the secret things our government has been doing in our name.

(I should note that part of my belief in radical democracy also includes a belief that neither governments nor business have the same right to privacy that individuals have. A government is not a person in the same way a corporation in not a person.You can't fire a non-employee from a business, and you shouldn't be able to prosecute a non-citizen for going (nonviolently) against a government that isn't their own.) (On second thought, you shouldn't be able to prosecute a citizen for non-violently going against a government that is there own.)

It's not hard. It doesn't take a leap of logic to say that Assange is very likely a misogynist asshole, but the dumping of government documents means the people of Spain can see just how much influence a foreign government has over their judicial system, or the people of Honduras can find out what was going on behind closed doors during their recent coup.

A lot of the arguing I see happening are the same arguments we saw about Polanski. "But he's a great artist!" "But he had a horrible life!" "Nazis!" "Sharon Tate". All those things are true, and Polanski is still a child rapist.

The difference, of course, is that Assange's masterpiece is not a film or even a carefully crafted and researched piece in the New York Times, but the dumping of massive government documents so that people can figure out for themselves what is going on. It's slightly more important than pretty camera work, but doesn't negate the rapey parts of his personality.

Oddly, this is one of the few cases where you can actually be bipartisan. Assange should answer for his crimes in Sweden against women, but perhaps we should all simmer down a bit on the calls to assassinate him or to deify him.

Besides, it's much more interesting to check out what the leaks have done. Being that the elites are supposed to be the cream on top, it's entertaining to me how often they end up acting like tantrum throwing children. That's diplomacy in a nutshell, diffusing tantrums with promises of lollipops.

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