Robespierre, Julian Assange, and the tyrrany of the individual.

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To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity.~Maximillien Robespierre

The West so easily believes the propaganda of its own enemies. America, forged in the heart of individual freedom, now falls prey to the lies of psuedo-freedom fighters whom throw around the words fascists, tyrants and murderers as if they were play-things. George Bush was a fascist, remember?

And any such individual now becomes the defacto hero of Berkley-ites, mindless anarchists, and 16 year olds with a laptop surfing the internet in Mom’s basement. Unfortunately, the Right falls for it, too. Afterall, who likes tyranny?

But who elected Julian Assange as the arbiter of justice in America? While we hold individualism in sacred honor, in this networked modern world, the individual is capable of nearly as much tyranny as a government. This is not to demote American ideals, only to point out that an individual has no more rights than any other, and that Rule of Law is what our Democracy is founded upon; not mere liberty, which in the hands of some becomes an excuse to do anything they please and hide their lawlessness under a self-woven cloak of freedom.

Government surely should be checked. It must serve its people. But it should not serve a lawless, self-righteous, mob. Our Founding Fathers considered their actions with sober intelligence.

Assange is a modern incarnation of Robespierre, capable of swaying large swaths of people with talk of liberty and denunciations of tyranny. He works knowing that people will fixate on those two words without stopping to consider what they actually mean. But in the end it is a mere self-satisfying power-grab. Also like Robespierre, Assange is capable of almost unspeakable brutality, a brutality that hides itself in the digital, information based world we live in. He is willing to throw away the lives of people he doesn’t even know in order to raise up an ideal in which he doesn’t himself even believe in. And many worship him because he’s one man against a government. They drank Assange’s Kool-Aid. And that Kool-Aid has created a new generation of enrage’s.

Robespierre was willing to slaughter anyone that stood in his way. So is Assange. He is in fact what he accuses the government of being: A Machiavellian construct.

Let’s end with another quote from Robespierre, which one can easily imagine coming from the lips of Assange:

The goal of the constitutional government is to conserve the Republic; the aim of the revolutionary government is to found it… The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death… These notions would be enough to explain the origin and the nature of laws that we call revolutionary … If the revolutionary government must be more active in its march and more free in his movements than an ordinary government, is it for that less fair and legitimate? No; it is supported by the most holy of all laws: the Salvation of the People

Beautiful words which poured from the lips of an utterly brutal ideologue.

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17 thoughts on “Robespierre, Julian Assange, and the tyrrany of the individual.

    Royce said:
    December 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This was a brilliant essay and the final quote precisely describes Assange and his anarchist message. I just posted a sermon on my blog that I think offers another view — well maybe similar — to what you have written here. May I copy and circulate your essay to some of my friends?

    Amos Volante said:
    December 13, 2010 at 4:04 am

    All the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Assange wants to show how equal he is: But he clearly strives to be more equal.

    WTP said:
    December 13, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I attribute much of this idiocy to the romanticization of the Rebel. Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” is asked “What are you rebelling against, Johnnie?” to which he replies “Waddaya got?”. And all the movie critics and rock and rollers and “edgy” writers and various other douche-bags howled with agreement. These people need to be asked what have they got? The French Revolution, Communism, and now they’ve fallen so far to do the bidding of a civilization that is even less evolved than the Nazis.

    magus71 responded:
    December 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    @Royce: Feel free to post this–no problem.

    @Amos: I’m sure that Assange would read Animal House and get something other than what Orwelle intended.

    @WTP: Absolutely.

    Amos Volante said:
    December 14, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    WTP – Good point about romanticizing.

    Look how many young kids think Che Guevara was cool. I’m still shocked every time I see a Che logo anywhere.

    That’s the sort of gullibility I see with Assange’s followers. They presume that any rebel, or any act against the system, must be helping the greater good.

    lbctanon13 said:
    December 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    “Also like Robespierre, Assange is capable of almost unspeakable brutality, a brutality that hides itself in the digital, information based world we live in.” — In what way has Assange proved capable of such brutality? In the same way that all humans are capable or is there some specific, verifiable, action that he has done that you are basing this line of attack? I would love very much to see evidence of this brutality. As far as I can see there is not much difference between Assange and Daniel Ellsberg or Mark Felt, but more succinctly Bob Woodward, he’s not even the actual leaker, just the one who publishes the leak, his action are not so different than the Washington Post’s during Watergate. Robespierre was a tyrant, no doubt, but equating Assange with him is no different than saying Bush (or Obama) is Hitler, it’s a little over the top, especially when nothing brutal has been done.

    magus71 responded:
    December 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    lbctanon13,

    While I understand the Woodward comparison (I’ve considered it myself), I know that Woodward speaks with the government before he releases things in his books. He does not release the names of sources that give info to the government, because that would endanger the lives of thos epeople.

    What Assange has done on the other hand, as some have pointed out, is throw an information hand grenade into a crowd, hoping to kill a few guilty people while ignoring the scores of innocents that will be harmed. I hope that you can see that the wanton release of some of this info places America in dire straights in some strategic realms, too.

    So while Assange never forced a neck on to a guillotine, he most certainly made our war efforts more difficult, put innocent lives at risk, and even threatened the US government with releasing more info if they arrested him.

    lbctanon13 said:
    December 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Alright, I see where you are coming from, though it’s still a bit of a stretch to use a rhetorical device equating this “information grenade” with the Terror. Endangering innocents is probably not a welcomed outcome of Wikileaks, in general, which the “Iraq War Diaries” release would substantiate as it included reports of US soldiers sniping civilians. But I understand the idea that some leaks can be used by terrorists to their advantage. However, a blanket accusation of a National Security threat because of leaks in general is a very Orwellian approach to a free and open society.

    Amos Volante said:
    December 17, 2010 at 2:39 am

    lbctanon13,

    Good points, for sure. I’m not anti-Assange, by an means, but there is one fact that I think is embarrassing for both sides in this drama:

    The leaked intelligence isn’t all that exciting.

    While Bob Woodward has all manner of high level interesting stuff to say, the Assange leaks are mostly bottom-up garbage information. Kind of like finding out all the data on your municipal trash collection system: Even if you could, who cares?

    For this reason I believe the government has lost little more than its pride, which it should rightfully have never had, and Assange isn’t saving the day after all (as I often suspect he believes). He’s just reminding us that boring stuff is happening everywhere, and now it’s leaked!

    Take away the undeserved, overused, “Top Secret” red stamps all you want, but let’s also be judicious about when we should and should not regard Assange as a superhero.

    magus71 responded:
    December 17, 2010 at 10:12 am

    @Amos: “I’m not anti-Assange, by an means”

    You shou7ld be, or at least you would be if you were the Afghan person who narced and hoped that America wouldn’t tell the Taliban.

    magus71 responded:
    December 17, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Also, Amos: This most recent thing is State Department stuff, which of course is mostly “non-kinetic.” The military stuff he released months ago was more useful to the enemy. But thi sstill made my job harder in tangible everyday ways which i can’t discuss now.

    magus71 responded:
    December 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

    lbctanon13 : The government has the same rights to hide things that citizens do. The government is made up of citizens. That is, if the government has info and locks it in a safe, we don’t have the right to break into the safe and steal the info just because it belongs to the government. Neither can the government without a warrant bust into our safes to get our info.

    Amos Volante said:
    December 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    When you get right down to it Assange’s biggest problem is that he believes the governement’s information classification system, written into law, does not apply to him.

    Enhancing this belief: He has never been prosecuted in any of these cases.

    But he says he makes great efforts to edit information for people’s safety: Kind of like the reckless driver who says he chose a safe location to see if his Corvette would go 193mph…

    Amos Volante said:
    December 20, 2010 at 3:09 am

    OK, I’ve looked into some of the Assange cases: Apparently he has been prosecuted before, but some of the charges don’t seem to relate to his general field of endeavor.

    It’s ironic that he won an award from a humanitarian organization that also later asked him to desist in his activities for humanitarian reasons.

    It seems that sometimes his own rule system backfires. Maybe the establishment isn’t so evil after all.

    Hackers, Cyber War, and Faux Heroes « Rolling Hot said:
    January 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    […] In a previous post I compared Assange to Robespierre.  The Anonymous group dons the Guy Fawkes mask as its mascot.  Interestingly, Fawkes could be considered somewhat of a right-wing religious zealot, something I’m sure most in Anonymous would be averse to. […]

    […] In a previous post I compared Assange to Robespierre.  The Anonymous group dons the Guy Fawkes mask as its mascot.  Interestingly, Fawkes could be considered somewhat of a right-wing religious zealot, something I’m sure most in Anonymous would be averse to. […]

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    September 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

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