Julian Assange is still incarcerated in Britain on the date of this post. Thus, by all conventional metrics, Belmarsh Prison must be considered the where of his existence.
But Assange’s legal problems are part of a larger story. A different kind of where created his current situation. And that other location will influence some key decisions the rest of us must make about America’s future.
Here’s a representation of his spot in GPS World ……
Meanwhile, another aspect of reality – our collective political framework – shows a different location for Assange. This other locale seems to matter more to him than the physical spaces he has occupied.
Julian Assange is not a left-right figure; he doesn’t fit on the traditional political model. Instead, his worldview orients vertically …… along the power axis. He has chosen a citizen-empowering position at the lowest point on the political circle.
Through boldness and tenacity, the Wikileaks founder has staked out – and held – an important new piece of political real estate. When he established this position on the barren frontiers of twenty-first century partisanship, the surrounding area was largely devoid of inhabitants. But that has begun to change.
In one of life’s ironies, Assange’s efforts to pioneer new partisan territory have been boosted by his sworn adversaries: the deep state actors “diametrically opposed” to his position. The more these avatars of centralized power constrain his physical location, the more they call attention to his groundbreaking political location.
This battle, instigated by Assange, has also shifted the political ground under his adversaries’ feet. State (and corporate) bureaucrats can no longer hide behind the false “centrist” label, protected by the cover of a one-dimensional model. Instead, they’ve been forced out onto open terrain, where their centralizing tendencies are on full display.
Assange and his associates model the qualities of citizen empowerment: a transparent sharing of information, flatness and flexibility in human organization, and true social & intellectual diversity …… among other characteristics.
In contrast, the deep state actors conform to the dictates of top-down power ….. tightly controlled “classified” information, deeply hierarchical organizations, and enforced uniformity in action & opinion.
These characteristics can help each of us to understand where our own partisan choices reside on the circle. For example, if you stridently support Assange, your position will be located in one of the lower quadrants. In contrast, those who dislike him will reside near the circle’s top.
A significant minority of partisans will be ambivalent about the power axis, though. Those folks, who orient primarily toward their values choices, reside near the left and right poles. They’ll question whether Assange’s agenda can have much impact on their hopes for the culture. His position will seem too far away to be of much relevance to the wokesters and evangelicals of America.
But the partisans of those locations will still be required to plot a path on the power axis …… and the differences between their two choices are stark. If they choose to adopt the qualities of citizen-sufficiency, Americans will forge hard-won alliances between people of differing values. In contrast, if they continue to leverage centralized power on behalf of their beliefs, America’s cultural conflicts will devolve into a zero-sum civil war.
Julian Assange has sacrificed his personal freedom, his financial future, his family life, and even his supersized libido to protect his position on the political circle. His example places a stake in the ground. It draws that line in the sand. He compels us to consider a fundamental question: which pole of the power axis will establish a better future for our society?