Why They Want to Destroy Julian Assange
Julian Assange’s heroic but tragic life is coming to a head in the next weeks. A British court shall soon rule whether Assange, ostensibly a publisher and journalist, shall be extradited to the United States to be charged with espionage. Though many people around the world have followed Assange’s hardships on and off during the last decade, it is really now, during this sham trial in London, that the importance of the struggle for political freedom should become clear to all.
In the widest sense, political freedom can be defined as freedom from state coercion. Granted the existence of a state, however small, political freedom is therefore never complete. And it can never be taken for granted; political freedom must always be fought for, if only to hang on to the gains of the past. Though there is more political freedom in the West today than when Bertrand Russell was locked up for opposing conscription during World War I, the state still has no qualms about trampling on individual rights when it deems that its interests are at stake. Assange has been spied upon, incarcerated, and tortured. The right to privacy of millions of ordinary people has been violated through secret, illegal surveillance programs conducted by intelligence agencies, some of which have been disclosed by Assange and the sources he worked with.
Although Assange is not exactly a libertarian, he acts upon the libertarian idea that the state shall have no secrets from the people. In his words, “transparency and accountability [of the state] are moral issues.” It is the moral principle that the people have a right to know everything that their state servants say, write, and do; especially when they commit acts that are illegal under the state’s own legal system. Of course, this point becomes more relevant as the State grows in size and scope; if it were cut down to a night watchman state, there would be far less to know.
The public acceptance of the state’s oversized role in society has been achieved over generations thr
Article from Mises Wire