You can feel a tide turning. First Facebook gets smeared in a targeted and coordinated media and government assault with other Big Tech distancing themselves from them, and now Julian Assange has been grounded.
Freedom and liberty are being made to be bad things, as if the truth, and the obedient middle classes will be given a scary story about bogeymen, as if their own governments aren’t spying on their citizens (that’s right, China: we have human trafficking and illegal arms dealing, but let’s make sure those jaywalkers are put in their place!).
I do not agree with Apple’s Tim Cook’s assertion that Facebook should have regulated itself. It would not have mattered. They allowed anyone to have a presence to a global platform to say or show whatever they wished, and their success placed that target sign on their backs.
Assange is a spoiler. He is both cunning and naive. I do believe he is a chess master, but never realized it was a game of Go he was playing — he may have honestly believed that if he showed the world how they are being lied to, abused, and subjugated by their governments, people will revolt.
No, sorry, Julian, they are way too busy gossiping about the creepy Game of Thrones and making kissy faces in their selfies to get up and march in the streets, and when they do march in the streets, it is to demand the government has given them too many rights and should nanny them as they take their rights away.
You will not hear me bad-mouth Assange or WikiLeaks, as that is the closest thing we have to journalism left, and I do believe he has planted seeds that is too late for the governments or media to pull out and kill, despite their best efforts, but he will pay a dear price for it.
The problem is there is a crackdown on liberties in the Western world — idea-shaming didn’t work. Journalism didn’t work. Trying to get people to retreat won’t work because the Internet wasn’t something people did strictly for work — it was always about fun and adventure without the effort that hinges on vanity and greed. Take that away, and people will become angry at those who spoiled their fun and games, and will retaliate in a devastatingly passive aggressive way. They waited about a decade too long to strike, and it will get away from them.
Because social media shortened attention spans and loyalties. The world has become more mercurial. Remember how loyal people were to the Clintons after Trump’s victory? Then came #MeToo and made them seem bitter and icky — and Hillary is no longer a rallying cry, just a crybaby.
The wavelengths around the world have shifted and changed — and you have old schoolers trying to wrest control with outdated sensibilities. The pendulum keeps swinging wildly with a world that is both perpetually self-entitled and offended, and that creates an unstable environment.
I would not be surprised if wars and skirmishes break out. It is already beginning to get ugly in Kosovo, for instance, and with a connected world, people become inspired faster than they ever did before. All it takes is One to bring chaos to the Infinite, and all order is lost.
Assange is being punished for kicking the hornet’s nest. Facebook is being punished for unleashing an entire hornet’s nest to sting whoever they desire. Both are being demonized with dread tales about their alliances and “sinister deeds”. Unfortunately, those doing the smearing and accusing are doing a lot worse than both put together.
WikiLeaks, Facebook, and #MeToo are all threats to the old order, and so far, two thirds are under attack, meaning expect #MeToo to be under fire as well.
It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out, but that Assange is still standing for over five years is shocking…