Wikileaks and the Pursuit of Truth: Knowledge Takes Over
First published here July 29, 2010. Edited October 8, 2016.
Most people who come across secondary materials written about Wikileaks have only a vague idea of how the world is evolving toward a new paradigm of knowledge. Most people who go straight to the source know even less. The materials published by Wikileaks are not always accompanied by accessible synopses.
As an academic, one might listen to Julian Assange with delight. As a free thinker who abhors a following, it almost pains me to pay compliments about Assange, but in some circles, the words are heavy in the air and need to be spoken: Knowledge is finally taking over. This is what Assange represents. New ideals are emerging.
These are the ideals shared by many of our peers around the world today but they are not new. They have existed at least since the dawn of philosophy, science and logical reasoning. In particular, the uncompromising pursuit of knowledge has existed since the first conscious being was able to articulate the concept. Knowledge is unrestricted by trivial concerns. It is free in every sense. Yet those in power have always sought to silence truth that interferes with their own political and financial pursuits. Ask Galileo, who was forced to write an apology letter and placed under house arrest to live out his final years. Now Assange is no astronomer, but he too is under house arrest.
Assange is articulate, his statements are analytical and reflect cogent reasoning. His responses to loaded questions are relevant and cut through flowery rhetoric. This is an anomaly in recent day media and explains why he is both hated and loved. Fallacies thrown at him are identified as such and refuted with ease. Steps in his reasoning have a rigorous, logical order. It’s all very common in some circles, but those circles are quite small. Most will write him off as delinquent but well-spoken. The truth is often heard but not quite as often understood.
Don’t venerate the man but feel free to experience a sense of relief in the face of what Wikileaks represents: An intelligent and rebellious army with morally sound intentions. The group is performing a takeover of the culture of ignorance that plagues us. The world will eventually be taken out of the hands of a suppressed media and handed to a group of individuals who have become, by design, unstoppable. The world has yet to appreciate this fact, as can be judged from mainstream media wisdom. Make no mistake– cut off one source and three more will grow. The moral rebels are everywhere and multiplying.
The revolution taking place is centered on justice, truth and freedom. The underlying message is to ignore the emotional and political distractions that detract from the truth; hold a “sword in one hand” but keep in mind that the fight is entirely based on the goal of justice; exposing the truth is the first condition in that pursuit. No sound judgment can be made in the absence of facts–in the absence of all the facts, untainted by the ambitions of those who lust after power, sacrificing young men and women for the elite classes by sentencing them to war. Hence the quote Assange alludes to, according to which soldiers are “contemptible drones”.
Of course, soldiers aren’t the real culprits. Their governments are. And these are the ‘elites’ in the distinction made between ‘popular’ opinion and elite opinion in Assange’s interview. While the masses are busy watching football, going to church and worrying about the afterlife, government executes its will for its own benefit. Wikileaks exposes reality, even if not all will care to look or be capable of processing what they see.
So the new trend of transparency opens up a level of inquiry we might not have thought possible. The ideals of thinkers like Michel Foucault and John Stuart Mill are becoming thinkable, according to which those with power and knowledge are one and the same; ideals according to which a citizen should be competent with the facts and knowledge is not created by popular opinion; no dissenting opinion should be silenced because the exchange of ideas is the only activity that distinguishes humans from lower animals. This is what we call freedom of expression, but that term must earn its meaning. Suppression of truth translates directly into the loss of freedom and humanity is nothing if not free by nature.
 Julian Assange July 10th, 2010, Retrieved July 29, 2010 from http://www.viddler.com/player/93992a5e