Self rationalizing questionable behavior

“There is nothing here that looks like moral heroism or even smart politics. Modern information technology seems to have put an unbalanced man in a position of more prominence and importance then he understands or can deal with. The kindest thing the world can do is to ignore Mr. Assange.”

Mead describes Assange the Coward – it’s another one of these ‘speaking truth to power’ type things where the pretense is that publishing private government documents is somehow responsible citizenship.

A key item in this is the attempt to assume the mantle of morally superiority. The opponent is the big dog, in this case the U.S,. which is out on a “witch hunt” to shut down whistleblowers.

“What Assange really wants is to look like a hero without having to run any risks. Serious people have decided at times that their duty required them to break the law. Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King all broke the law to achieve important political goals. But unlike Julian, they believed that they were required to face the consequences of their acts.”

There seems to be a lot of this sort of thing these days. It is a variant of the ‘double down’ effort to rationalize such behavior as baseless and nonsensical allegations as a ‘good thing.’ Personal responsibility? forget that. Intellectual integrity? ditto.

The need is to hold such people accountable for their self aggrandizement. Mead provides an example of doing just that. Put it on the table, show how ridiculous it is, and use social pressures to tamp down the absurdities. That is like the effort to name and shame those who disrupt political events. It does seem that there is a shift from ‘let it be’ to ‘we have had enough of this’ and that is probably a step in the right direction.

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