Part of what I am find to be very interesting at the present is just how the Assange Affair is revealing prejudice and fantasies along both lines.
The Assangists speak of the United States as a rogue, lawless state, remaining only nominally a democracy, while becoming in practise a fascist state. Assangists are not confined in origin to moonbats or the far-left’s sympathisers but come from a broad spread of liberal educated opinion, who see their dystopian fantasies encouraged in the play-acting of Julian Assange. They see the rape charges from Sweden as at best a smear, at worst a CIA covert ops programme and not only fail to see the dangers in publishing classified correspondence but actively revel in the thought that in violating the state, they are behaving as democratic heroes.
The anti-Assangists conversely are treating Assange as a criminal and traitor ahead of any indictment and some idiots have called for Assange to be treated on the same level as Al Qaeda operatives. The latter is both not possible and reprehensibly foolish. Assange cannot be a traitor without having sworn an oath – i.e. been a citizen of the US. If he has committed a crime under US law, then he should extradicted and tried. If not, then moral outrage cannot be allowed to be translated into legal action. Here the US government must consider enacting something along the lines of the Official Secrets Act in Britain.
There is little more to be said about the anti-Assangists. It is the Assangists themselves who fascinate me as an analyst.
As a rule, one could say that the majority of Assangists were against the Iraq War and blame the United States for the war against Islamist terrorism but their views extend into a number of manias;
The first is a persecution complex or mania; there is a strongly held belief that free speech and dissent are under threat as a result of official disapproval. These views are often underscored by hints at the development and operation of a secret police state within the United States, reinforced by a cooperative judiciary and legal community. Whilst no evidence actually exists for these developments, this does not hinder the flights of fancy seen on the Huffington Post and so forth. Indeed it would be much harder if there were evidence – such as the Huffington Post being closed down or journalists being murdered as this would force the those protesting against the fascist USA to make hard choices.
The second leads from the first. In being the brave dissenters who defend Assange from the machinations of the US war machine (here I am parodying their discourse…) the Assangists can firstly turn Julian Assange into a martyr for freedom and democracy (when he is nothing of the sort) and second promote themselves as potential martyrs. This is important as so much of left-wing play acting requires the status of a victim. Here the victim is the innocent, apolitical citizen who sees his country behaving unjustly and takes a stand; that these people are nothing if not political and routinely attack the USA in any case, does tend to place doubt upon this claim. Furthermore to be a victim one must actually be offended against – how are Assange or his followers victimised?
The answer is that they are not but this answer does not supply us with the reason for Assangist outrage. The Assangists are outraged that ordinary people could take offence at his publishing confidential government correspondence. Those who find themselves in the Assangist camp have so often been the morally outraged that this development is most unwelcome, upsetting their political equilibrium and depriving them of their self-appointed status as moral arbiters of the nation. To this, the Assangists have reacted as so often before, accusing the establishment and the right-wing of manipulating public opinion and creating a false consensus.
Above all it is evident that these people hold the USA to a double standard, expecting the US to lead the world in international conduct, yet condemning the US for its “failure”. Perhaps we should take this as a lesson in the dangers of “idealism” as a political philosophy.