Who Are the Heroes?
Who are the heroes in modern society, especially in a society where the internet plays an increasingly important role? Some might claim a conventional answer to the question: politicians, movie stars, sport celebrities, etc, but I’m not so sure.
I think the heroes might be the people who are stirring up trouble by using the internet to push the boundaries: people like Julian Assange and Kim Dotcom! The fact that both of these heroes are currently in legal “difficulties” makes them even more heroic to those of us who reject the status quo.
I agree that there are significant complicating factors in both cases. Dotcom must have known that his site was being used for both illegal and immoral purposes, and Assange released material without full regard for the problems it might cause. Also Dotcom made a lot of money out of a service which was really just a copy of something which had been done many times before, and Assange used his site to further his own fame. So yes, these heroes are flawed, just like all real heroes. That’s what makes them so much more interesting.
Whatever faults these two might have I would be far more concerned about the faults the action against them has revealed in how the legal system (the system that some people incongruously call the “justice” system) works.
I think most people would say that the New Zealand police force is fairly free from corruption and that most cops genuinely try to do a good job but it’s difficult not to reach the conclusion that they can be trusted less and less. There is a clear trend to using tactics which are out of proportion to the alleged crime.
Dotcom’s case is just the most obvious one where the police have been totally out of line. Someone should be fired over that for sure. If I was on that police team I would be leaking information about those responsible: probably to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks site!
And there’s the point I’m trying to make: the internet is the one thing which gives the majority of people a way to fight back. And that is no doubt why the corporations and organisations who feel so threatened by it are trying to stop it using the draconian, dishonest, violent, and immoral methods we have seen.
Every time I hear of another victory in court for Dotcom (and there have been plenty) I feel that there is still some hope for the New Zealand legal system, even though our police were clearly hijacked by the FBI to do their dirty work for them. But in the future we shouldn’t even let the police be used like that to start with.
Assange’s case isn’t going so well unfortunately. Yesterday he lost his UK extradition appeal even though it’s obvious to most people that he was clearly set up for political purposes. Of course, it was part of his flawed character that he allowed that to happen.
There are a lot of rather shady deals going on behind the scenes but most of them are not being initiated by the side you would think. Who are the heroes? They’re certainly not who many people think they are!