Assange and the left’s messiah complex….
The case of Julian Assange has become something a pantomime; frankly, the notion of the SAS storming Ecuador’s Embassy is almost comical as it is ragic. If Ecuador is prepared to taint itself by keeping Assange fattened and atop his pulpit at its own taxpayers expense then more fool it. Certainly, I wouldn’t want see British taxpayers money spent on this feeding the already giant ego of Julian Assange. I am totally sure his overbearing narcissism is having a whale of a time as it is; this is something every ego-manic has vivid and semi-erotic dreams about. For the record, what I have heard of the charges against Assange they seem suspect, however, I am beginning to think it’s less likely the US government are behind them and more likely the man himself is. After-all, even Wikileaks itself couldn’t have generated this much publicity if it had leaked the combined contents of the Royal Families closely-guarded bed-side diary’s. Having said that, from what I have seen of Mr Assange’s character I can also believe they are entirely true, the truth is none of us know for sure. This is why he should face trial, just like anybody else should, I do realise that he is going to struggle to get anything close to a fair one and it would become a political trial, however we cannot start making exceptions to due process just for one individual with an exceptionally inflated ego.
I understand why people on the left want to leap to the defence of Assange. Its not unheard of for threatened states to smear and discredit individuals they believe to be dangerous and to believe nice ‘fluffy’, ‘democratic’, governments like the American one wouldnt do it is exceptionally naive. However, it seems in alot of peoples eyes he genuinely cant do anything wrong and he is akin to the Second Coming. This is a problem with the left. In extremis you see it most in-evidence on the far-left where its a heretical offence to eat a different brand of breakfast cereal to the ones favoured by Marx, Lenin and/or Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin (delete as applicable). However, the softer social-democratic and liberal left also engages in the same mode of thinking. It seems we forget about individuals and the importance of individuality right-up to the point where they do something that grants them god-like status. Once they have passed that point their word becomes divine law and their personage is impregnable. Any opponent must be in league with the ‘enemy’. Incidentally, there are other people who think like this, they are mostly tin-pot dictators and their supporters. Now we begin to understand the softness of many parts of the left on ‘great anti-imperialists’ like Saddam Hussein (who never stomped about invading his countries neighbours in a suspiciously imperialist fashion, honest).
It is perfectly possible and compatible within left-wing politics to seek the freedom of the individual within the framework of advocating collective struggle. Collectives, democratic ones at least, allow the individual ultimate freedom to express themselves and develop fully as rounded, individual, human beings. Sadly, the left has never quite mastered its own dialectics and is still stuck puzzling over the cereal conundrum. We could reclaim the freedom of the individual as a left-wing principle from the right which advocates the hidden-hand tyranny of capitalism which crushes individuals and individual freedom in the millstone of its constant search for never-ending profits. The number of truly talented and exceptional people stuck in menial jobs is frankly astounding and a total refutation of the great lie that a ‘free’ market means a free people. However, we cannot do this while we bow and scrape before the likes of Julian Assange. We need to lose the hero-worship and return to a vibrant, critical culture of constantly holding powerful individuals to account for their actions, not granting them total impunity to do as they please.