Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Is Julian Assange an 'Electronic Libertarian'?

Journalist Robert Mann recently discussed Julian Assange in an interview with ABC News Radio International.

In the interview, Mann calls Assange an 'Electronic Libertarian', meaning that Assange is against government methods of electronic control and monitoring. Assange, says Mann, fears control by the state via the internet and Assange specifically formed WikiLeaks as a way to cripple authoritarian states. At the same time, Assange is not a free market advocate, but appears to hold some type of welfare state as an ideal model.

I think Mann is pretty accurate when it comes to understanding Assange. Assange seems to have a very sophisticated understanding of how the internet works best in a very laissez faire environment, yet, for some reason, it also appears that he has a very pedestrian view of how the economy works.

The full interview with Mann is here and well worth a listen to.


  1. While I don't care enough about Assange personally to follow his interviews, I do remember him saying that he supported free markets and was influenced by libertarianism. Of course, that leaves a lot of wiggle room since both terms are used in a variety of ways. Is it in the linked interview (haven't had time to listen) where Assange promotes a welfare state?

  2. I thought I read somewhere that was of his causes was global warming, er I mean climate change.

  3. Bob,

    Wikileaks came out of the cypherpunk list (civil and economic libertarians) and is connected to the TOR project.

    Beyond that, NO COMMENT

  4. At http://www.wikileaks.ch/About.html:

    "We derive these principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."


    "...and we seek to uphold this and the other Articles of the Declaration."

    Now see http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml. Articles 22 & 23 are telling. Of course, the whole declaration is statist to the core, so the rights it alleges concerning social security, courts, trials, etc. presume an obligation to submit to a government. Article 28 reminds the reader exactly what sort of statist order the UN is intended to bring about.

    So, no, Assange is not a libertarian. A libsoc, perhaps, but not a libertarian.

    On a related note: If the right to life is an INALIENABLE right (see Preamble and Art. 3), then there can be no such thing as the right to stop an aggressor who cannot be stopped but by killing it. To kill that aggressor would constitute an alienation of that aggressor's right to live.

    Of course, the UN's members, apparatchiks, and stringullers don't think that they are bound by their own suggestion that there's an inalienable right to life, as we are being reminded by the intervention in Libya. But maintaining that there is such a right is useful to anyone who asserts that the poor are entitled to a job, to a handout, etc., since without these they might die.