Saturday, June 15, 2013

Heroes and Villains

There is little doubt in my mind that the economic chaos defining the lives of millions of people is intentional, not just so their labour can be exploited as cheaply as possible, but also because desperate citizens make for compliant and disciplined drones. Historically, it has usually been thus, with the elites calling the shots while the rest scramble for meager existences, through no fault of their own other than their place in the embryo lottery.

When you are in a position of economic security, it is much easier to follow the corporate/political intrigue that continues to debase our democracy and degrade our humanity. Unfortunately, that position of security is constituted by an increasingly small segment of the non-elite population.

So if your life isn't consumed by trying to simply keep body and soul together, you might find some articles on Edward Snowden of real interest, especially given the questions that they raise about what limits should exist in a democracy, and whether people living in a putative democracy have the right to know whether they are being spied upon en masse:

Why Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, is more hero than traitor by Tony Burman.

Edward Snowden is messenger, not message by Heather Mallick.

In praise of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden by Rick Salutin.

And from the man who brought Snowden's revelations to the world, On Prism, partisanship and propaganda by Glenn Greenwald.


  1. If they can keep us scared, Lorne, our masters will be secure.

    1. They seem to be doing a pretty good job of it so far, haven't they, Owen? We may have more access to information than at any other point in history, but the time and inclination needed to acquire and process it seems to be lacking for many.

  2. I read Mallick's article on Snowdon and though I agree that the message is important, I can't help thinking (perhaps McLuhan style) that this young, articulate man is a kind of message in himself. I wonder if we are seeing the emergence of a new kind of global citizen: young people who are steeped in new, global technologies and increasingly see knowledge as a human right. Is there emerging a new kind of citizen who because of the internet has the potential to see a truly global community for the first time? The more I think about it the more interesting it seems. I am gradually realizing that my kids (particularly my youngest who is 9) conceives of the world differently than we did and she is truly confused by notions of racisms and nationalism. Even though they compel her to sing O Canada every morning she is truly international in a way that I never could have conceived when I was her age.

    Just wondering if there is a significant message wrapped up in people like Snowden and it is a message that those in power really don't want to hear.

    1. You make a very interesting suggestion and observation here, Kirby. I have often felt that despite the vast array of information available to people through the Internet, it is often used simply to reinforce pre-existing notions and beliefs. Perhaps, as you suggest, it will be the young who are growing up with this medium who will use it in more positive ways. Perhaps by offering a wide window to the world, it will expand rather than narrow their view, as seems to be the case with your daughter.