Julian Assange is a superhero. Or, actually, the hero of the most relevant thriller Robert Ludlum never wrote. I would buy him a beer and toast his health and hide him in my basement while Homeland Security agents menace me with buckets of Freedom Water.
Our government, like all governments, is made up of human beings, full of flaws and foibles. Additionally, like all governments, the sort of people who often fill its halls of power are people who seek not the betterment of the world, but power and money and self-aggrandizement. To trust them wholly, to not question, and to attack those who do, is to be an idiot.
(Which reminds me of my favorite quote of the week, from Keith Olbermann: “Calling an idiot an idiot is not personal – its almost mathematical.”)
People get all bent out of shape when “our side” gets pegged for doing the wrong thing. They think it harms us when “our” misdeeds are swept into the light for all to see. Actually, it harms us when those who represent us mis-do. Pointing it out gives us a chance to look at our mistakes and try to do better. Continue reading →
A few thoughts before we look at the event cited in this entry’s title…
Studies indicate that roughly 30% of people have what is called an “authoritarian personality,” signified by three correlative traits:
Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.
Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one’s society should also be required to adhere to these norms. (Source: The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer)
You can spot this syndrome easily enough, especially in these days when an entire “news” network is designed to cater to that personality. Lately I’ve been seeing it in some people’s comments regarding the TSA’s pointless and Draconian screening of American citizens in airports.
An author who’s one of my Facebook friends posted this as his status:
So tired of all of the body scanner bitching. Scan me. Pat me up and pat me down. I don’t care as long as I don’t get blown up. This is the world we’ve made for ourselves, and it’s not changing anytime soon. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.
That’s very much an authoritarian statement (though not evidence in itself of an authoritarian personality, I don’t know the guy well enough to pin that on him).
Someone else replied to his post:
I agree. I rather be safe. Unfortunately, this politically correct world is what it is.
Woven firmly through both statements is an assumption that what is being done is just fine because those in authority have decided it’s what must be done. Continue reading →