Freedom Isn’t Free

Or, to be more precise, Freedom requires maintenance. If we fail to affirm our freedom, if we fail to defend it against the oppression of tyranny and the creep of corruption, we will live to regret it.

Once people are living in a non-dictatorship, either by transitioning from monarchy to democracy or from a more repressive regime to a definitely less-so, there are at least two types of vigilance which are required to prevent a return of a repressive regime.

1. Beware of attempts to overthrow or undermine the current less-repressive regime, and

2. Beware of creeping cynicism, corruption and self-interest in administrators which can turn any system however well-designed right back into a tyranny by favoring a privileged class.

Many of those in the American Revolution wanted to make General Washington into an  American King George. Fortunately, Washington himself resisted these suggestions, knowing that it would have defeated the purpose of the Revolution: we would have declared ourselves independent of the control of one monarch, only to put ourselves in the hands of another. This would have been a type (1) failure to protect freedom.

Unfortunately, the founding fathers did not do so well with type (2). They realized from the first that wealthy people would exert more influence, since they would be the ones who could afford to run for office or sponsor those who did. But they were so obsessed with ensuring the protection of the privileges of private property that they failed to make adequate provision to prevent the rich from controlling too much. When Congress decided that America needed an Income Tax, the wealthy class were already prepared to tweak the process and ensure that they had loopholes and ways to avoid paying their fair share.

And so here we are again. This time it is not a guy on a throne we have to worry about, and it’s not just our own country either. Multinational corporations continue to show a preference for profits over safety and sustainability; they exert more influence on our governments than ever before. In the midst of all of the growing disillusionment and discontent, we see a new phenomena in political activism: an organization whose members strive for group success, not for mere personal distinction: Anonymous.

Unlike violent revolutionaries, Anonymous does not use bombs or guns. Their bullets are doxes that release names, campaign contribution amounts, and other info; their big gun is the coordinated but decentralized DDoS attack, which can bring popular and lucrative Web severs down. You cannot blow up their tanks: they have no tanks. You cannot invade their headquarters: they have no headquarters. You cannot buy them off, because they are not seeking wealth, and you cannot hire them against your enemies, because they are not a private army. You might argue that the Zetas bought them off by releasing an Anon they had grabbed somehow. But this merely meant that the planned op to expose details on the Zeta Cartel was tabled (many had opposed that plan anyway). It does not mean Anonymous works for the Zetas. Anonymous works only for Anonymous.

Whatever anyone says about Anonymous, you cannot say that it is a cult as some have accused Scientology of being. A cult requires a charismatic leader, and the driving forces inside Anonymous are content with results instead of fame — they seem uninterested in spotlights unless they are aimed at corruption being exposed.  While some have attempted to paint them as dangerous and irresponsible, it is undeniable that they were active in Arab Spring where they attacked servers working for repressive regimes.

Anonymous does not murder people, hook them on poison, or send them across the ocean to attack other countries. Instead they discover and expose corruption and wrongdoing. OK, they don’t wear green so they can’t be Robin Hood.  But I’m pretty sure they don’t work for the rich (the 1%), and that’s close enough for me, lol. –MRK

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