I should have written this several days ago, as I’ve now fallen woefully behind the news; nonetheless I don’t want to say that the recent series of hack-attacks on anti-Wikileaks corporations are the opening battles in a series of “Info Wars”, since that phrase is naturally connotative of a certain somewhat famous internet conspiracy theorist and therefore does not truly describe what is happening in the world today. Still, in spite of all my own ignorance and ridiculousness, I have to say something.
I think the release of the Wikileaks cables showed a great deal of people, including myself, that secret government information is not being kept secret for anyone’s protection except for that of the ruling class. And since the recent passage of the Supreme Court case which allows companies and individuals to anonymously donate infinite supplies of money to favored political candidates, and since these same companies are more often than not playing both sides*—so that, whoever wins, we lose—it has likewise become obvious to almost everyone that this ruling class is being increasingly associated with the wealthy and the powerful, and is more or less indistinguishable from it.
Today it does not seem as if a politician can come to power without bowing first his or her head to the richest people in the world. The interests of these modern robber barons, who seem keen on little else except gutting the planet for their own personal profit, do not in any way coincide with the interests of most of the people who are alive today, and, in fact, run in active opposition to them. Historically this is nothing new to civilization, but in a free, open, and democratic society, this trend, if left unchecked, can only result in violence and destruction. Such extreme disparities in wealth, such conspicuous consumption of political power, inevitably results in revolution.
In my mind the conflicts in the world are taking on a character that would have been very familiar to people a hundred years ago—that of the haves versus the have nots, the rich versus the poor, and not of conflicting nation-states, which I think was largely the character of most of the wars in the 20th century. It is absolutely class warfare, and while I am not a communist, the income discrepancy in America between the rich and the middle class has so become outrageous that I cannot call myself a supporter of the kind of slavery and pure capitalism that is at least tacitly advocated by significant numbers of modern politicians.
So I think the conflicts of the 21st century, whether online or offline, will revolve around equalizing these enormous disparities in wealth; the rich will bribe legions of ignorant supporters into fighting for them, and use conservative and medieval social issues to cement their support; the rest of us will fight for freedom and knowledge. And naturally our victory is inevitable, because no one can ignore the ruthless tyranny of the wealthy forever. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
What I’m saying is that I want to help Wikileaks and Anonymous in any way that I can; I’ve become the peasant who passively supports the bands of rebels fighting the king because for the moment I do not know how else to do so. I think more moderates and liberals will drift to our side when Barack Obama, our negotiator-and-political-hostage-in-chief, inevitably loses the presidency to Sarah Palin.
I also think that we are fast approaching a time when capitalism exhausts itself. It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that in order to be viable, capitalism requires access to cheap labor and wealthy markets: for Apple to be successful, the company must outsource the manufacture of its computers to China, and then sell those computers to wealthy American consumers. But when you cannot find cheap labor, you cannot sell cheap products; and while the utopian future of an Earth without third-world countries packed with people willing to slave away for pennies an hour may seem as if it is decades or centuries away from us, a time will come when such fair and logical laws, like a minimum and maximum wage for all human beings, are successfully implemented; the path to that very distant and very unlikely and very utopian world is fraught with hazards and dangers; we may never reach such a goal, and civilization may never attain that kind of maturity; the human race has already become the suicidal, self-destructive teenager; how long is it until we off ourselves? Still, we have to try to make the world better, even in the face of looming catastrophe.
I think one of the many problems is that many of us do not know what we are working toward. For me, the ideal world is one in which people are free to do as they please as long as they do not trample on the rights of others; one in which families may raise children without fear of pollution, environmental holocaust, war, disease, violence, extremism, or the flouting of the rule of law by a monied few. This future planet Earth has a much smaller human population than our own, and most of its resources go toward preserving the environment and improving the lives of its citizens, rather than the enslaved manufacture of weapons and endless worthless production and consumption of things which no one actually needs. That is the goal we should work toward, impossible and idiotic as it may seem; supporting the free spread of information is a path to this world; that is why I support Wikileaks.