Archive for April 15, 2019

Some More Thoughts about Recent Arrest of Julian Assange in London

April 15, 2019 9 comments

In the previous post on this topic, I wrote about how exposure of information by Wikileaks (and others inspired by it) has permanently damaged the only remaining ruling mandate for elites in western countries. In case you are wondering, that was Assange’s goal from the very beginning- and he has succeeded. If you don’t believe my take on what he has achieved, let me remind you about how things were in 2008. At that time, most people still thought Bush43’s presidency was an anomaly and everything would return back to how it was in the 1990s. They also believed that Obama would become the next FDR and reign in financialism. Did I mention the hilarious part where almost everyone believed that internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc were the greatest thing since sliced bread and could do no wrong. Simpler times indeed..

Then many seemingly unexpected things started to occur in quick succession. First, there was the global financial crisis which began in late 2008, which lead to multi-trillion dollar bailouts for ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial institutions and corporations. Of course, everybody else (aka the 99 %) got screwed and Obama turned out be the black version of Reagan rather than FDR. It slowly became obvious that the 1990s were never going to come back. And then it got worse as entire sectors of the economy got hollowed out- at an even faster pace than before. More problematically, almost all of the new jobs created since then have been precarious and poorly paid. My point is that, it is hard to understand the full impact of Wikileaks unless you first appreciate the socio-economic-political climate into which it was born.

I first wrote about Wikileaks a long time ago (link 1 and link 2) and my initial assessments about it proved to be correct. Not surprisingly, the MSM attitude towards Wikileaks and Assange has not changed since 2010. At that time, I also made another comment about Assange which turned out to be far more prescient than I initially realized. Since 2010, the many archives of documents released by Wikileaks and Snowden have had a profound impact on how people in the west perceive their own governments and civic institutions. Today nobody pretends that the NSA doesn’t exist or that USA-based internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc are anything other than commercial arms of the (rapidly failing) american empire. In 2008, you would have been considered delusional for publicly stating that almost all journalism in USA is elite stenography, even after their almost unanimous support for the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003.

We also cannot ignore what happened in the rest of the world during that period and the impact of Wikileaks on public discourse in those countries. Let me remind you that Wikileaks is by far the single biggest reason USA was not able to keep a significant military presence in Iraq after 2009. Its revelations also did an incredible amount of permanent damage to public image of western countries in other parts of the world. After they were made public, very few people in countries such as China, Russia etc could keep pretending that the american system of governance and institutions was any less repressive and problematic than their own. These leaks have also sped up the process of making the internet and communications (in general) more decentralized and much less USA- or west-centric. In short, Wikileaks achieved a decent percentage of its original objectives- so far. And ya.. it did contribute to the defeat of HRC in 2016.

As you also know, the declining vassal states of Sweden and UK cooked up a stupid and highly counterproductive scheme to arrest Assange and extradite him to USA since 2010. In my opinion, this stupid scheme was stupid and short-sighted. Then again, elites throughout human history have never shown themselves to be good at long-term and strategic thinking. And this type of malfunction is intrinsic to large hierarchical and impersonal social systems- as I have also written about in previous posts such as this one. Here is another one which explains how these systemic shortcomings play out in other large systems. To put it another way, the whole idea of trapping Assange within that embassy for 7 years was an incredibly stupid idea. But why, specifically, was it so dumb? Well.. because it made him into a larger-than-life (almost religious) figure while simultaneously shredding the public credibility of western countries.

The thing is.. people universally understand that a person trying to persecute somebody for their personal beliefs is an acknowledgement of your own weakness. For example, if some obviously mentally-ill guy across the street kept shouting that you were the anti-christ, people around you would either ignore it or find it amusing. Nobody would believe the guy making those claims. Now imagine if you responded to those claims by trying to get the guy, making them, killed. People would rightly think that those claims were actually correct and that you were indeed the anti-christ. This dynamic is part of the reason why scandals which would sink conventional politicians, many times over, have no worthwhile effect on Trump’s popularity. He simply does not care enough about them to give a conventional explanation or response.

If the elites in USA, UK and Sweden etc had any ability to think beyond the short-term, they would have handled the Assange situation very differently. Firstly, they would have realized and accepted that somebody like Assange and Wikileaks was as inevitable in the internet age as Martin Luther and Protestantism were in the aftermath of movable-type printing being invented- or the ‘One’ arising in the Matrix. And yes.. I also wrote a post about this issue in that past. Secondly, the most optimal way to handle somebody like Assange was to watchfully ignore him- thereby denying him martyrhood. Sure.. he would keep leaking document archives and causing some problems. But guess what.. he ended doing that stuff anyway.

Persecuting Assange made the USA, UK, Sweden etc look just as repressive and incompetent as the countries and regimes they claim to be superior to. Or as I call it, scoring repeated self-goals. But why does it matter? Well.. because, as I mentioned in the previous post, the ruling mandate of elites in west is derived from abstract ideas such as being perceived as honest, democratic, competent, meritocratic etc. This is in sharp contrast to a nation like China, where the elites derive their legitimacy from providing real, concrete and measurable improvements in physical quality of life for their citizens. This is also why persecuting somebody like Assange is far more damaging to western-style governmental systems than imprisoning a dissident is to China.

Will write more on this as events unfold..

What do you think? Comments?