SNOWDEN SHOULD GO TO JAIL
But Because He’s A Hero, Not A Traitor
Anyone who doesn’t think by now that Edward Snowden did the world a huge favor is wearing blinders. They just haven’t thought it through. Snowden put the secret powers of government back under public scrutiny and rebalanced a democracy that was falling into exactly the trap that Osama bin Laden hoped it would.
Limiting freedom to fight terror has its merits. In WWII, Roosevelt rationed gas and controlled prices, something that would have been considered if the second Iraq War was in any way justified.
But attacking privacy on the kind of wholesale global scale opens intelligence communities up to abuses. Those abuses were already taking place when Snowden did what he did.
Snowden’s critics argue that he should have found a better way to do what he did. He should have used the right channels. But that’s what freedom fighters have always been told as they burnt passports and plantation houses, dumped tea in the harbor, broke salt and textile monopolies and defied segregation and apartheid laws. Snowden read history right when he broke the law to reveal the truth and restore some balance between freedom and security.
But when he ran away and ‘Assanged’ himself in Russia, he read Scripture and literature wrong.
From Mandela all the way back to guys like Jesus and Buddha, the people we have come to think of as Gandhians have exemplified a model of non-violence that the military industrial complex and the elites of money, politics and academia seem to have no long term defense against. In the long run, Snowden will win. He has already been absolved by history in all but the most paranoid political, military and intelligence circles.
Where Snowden is going wrong is that he has to face the consequences of his actions, face down the injustice in ‘justice’ pay an unfair penalty for an indefinite period until the society itself rebels against the injustice that locks him up. The examples of Christ, Bahuallah, Mandela. MLK, Gandhi all show that this is his most profitable course of action.
It was Dostoevsky who best explained why a guy should pay for a crime that shouldn’t be a crime at all. The theory is part Crime and Punishment and partly from the section in The Brothers where he makes that argument about bread versus freedom.You see, when a law is unjust, it is still a law. Those who break the law to fight its injustice must also be willing to pay the penalty for breaking a law out of respect and love for the society they are helping…by breaking the law. Breaking the law attacks the law, but paying the penalty attacks the injustice of the law directly. Paying an unjust penalty also helps create consensus, which is always helpful when you’re fighting the Roman Empire or the NSA or whatever. It helps people who wouldn’t break the law agree that the law is unjust and needs either modification or abolishment.
Running away (especially when you finally run out of ammunition) only helps people who are already on your side sell more books.
Edward Snowden still has loads of ammunition left, so he has time on his side. In fact, right now, he is not so much running away as he is in a standoff. But if I were him, I would figure out a mid-to-long term strategy for how to secure the ammunition/information and then I would turn myself in.
If the US Government can’t see the sense in pardoning a guy from breaking the law for a very good reason then they deserve what they get for imprisoning that guy. It will be their loss. Snowden has already been absolved by history.
They want a martyr…give them a martyr.