Wikileaks, Anonymous, LulzSec, the MSM and the Entropic Drift toward Crap

by A. Jay Adler on August 31, 2011
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The problem with government is not government. It’s people. People make up government, so of course it represents all the flaws we find in people. But as Churchill remarked of democracy, that it “is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,” the only form of social organization worse than institutionalized government is no government. Left and right extremists, from Tea Partiers who seek to “starve the beast” to Wikileakers, Anonymizers and LulzSecers who believe in “true freedom, online as well, as the real-life realm” are utopians masquerading as common folk or techno-visionaries rather than the more rudimentary optical kind. Lord, or whoever is filling in, spare us from utopians. See, for this: the Twentieth Century, or the French Revolution. The American Revolution, among its beauties, was not utopian. It’s the pursuit of happiness, my friend, not happiness.

We learned yesterday that Wiki’s latest Leak, not actually new, did not redact the names of individuals whose lives might well be endangered by the outing. We are informed by Der Spiegel, that the exposure of identities was “accident.”

The ongoing conflict between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his former German spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg has led to the accidental release of confidential data that was in WikiLeaks’ possession. Since the beginning of the year, an encrypted file has been circulating on the Internet containing the collection of around 251,000 US State Department documents that WikiLeaks obtained in spring 2010 and made public in November 2010.

The Washington Post, however, reported yesterday that this “accident” is only “possibly” so.

The official WikiLeaks Twitter account has played down the impact of the report. “Current story being spun about wild cables, including from Spiegel, is significantly incorrect,” read one tweet sent out around 10 a.m., Eastern time. “WikiLeaks ‘insurance’ files have not been decrypted. All press are currently misreporting. There is an issue, but not that issue,” the account wrote again at 3 p.m., A third message reading, “There has been no ‘leak at WikiLeaks’. The issue relates to a mainstream media partner and a malicious individual,” followed soon afterward. [Emphasis added]

So, much as Powell jockeyed with Cheney, Assange and Domscheit-Berg, who founded the rival OpenLeaks, have their own contention going on. I am certainly glad, though, as I know are you, that they at least have assumed these powerful positions of responsibility, with state secrets and lives under their not-so-great care, as the consequence of democratic processes. They have been vetted as to training and reputation and subjected to popular review, and are held accountable, at least in theory (theory about all we have these days in the realm of holding the powerful accountable), by established mechanisms of oversight.

No? Oh.

And they do count among the powerful these days. Do you have the power to disturb and disrupt governments, influence and lose lives all over the world? But at least they represent you and your interests more than does Leviathan government, because, because….

Among those who so uncritically and incoherently support the smashing of the system at which Wikileaks plays are those who pleasure vicariously, or even play a role in, the hack attacks on government, banking, and commerce by Anonymous and LulzSec, the latter of which, by name, acts (or acted?) for the sheer juvenile, anarchic joy of disruption. Where once we had Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, now we have the bedroom-dwelling virtual inhabitants of World of Warcraft and The Matrix offering us “the plan” for their war against – they actually say it – “the system.”

Far fucking out, man.

If we wouldn’t all be better off with their, in fact, working for Activision Blizzard, they are, alternatively, caught because they can’t get enough of Xbox.

We understand how it begins, with governments of and for the wealthy and powerful, with political processes that further cynically devolve into standardized dissimulation and manipulation. Add to this a mainstream media establishment that normalizes the behavior, abets it with a love of “the game” and with an essential cowardice. (Who can name an interviewer on Dick Cheney’s memoir publicity tour who has asked him about torture rather than “harsh interrogation”?)

Crap, you understand, is not just excrement. It is nonsense, drivel. It is falsehood, exaggeration, and propaganda. We swim in it. Human beings are natural producers of it. Government is the attempt to clean it up, provide more latrines, even build a hut from it. But government, made up of people, will inevitably, in not too long, become full of it. What to do then is the greatest of challenges. However, the notion that we will be led to some form of liberation by self-selected, disaffected egoists and cyber-social malcontents who produce the same crap, but merely know better than the rest of us how to encode it, doesn’t pass the smell test for anyone without his head up his ass or is not the intellectual court jester of authoritarianism.

Or do you think Anonymous is better than Mark Zuckerberg, and what do you do when Anonymous, like government, can’t get its act together? Well, at least you’ll have some say in the matter.

AJA

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