From the outset, I have to say that I’m not overly fond of identifying one person out of seven billion or so as the person of the year. There are many good people on this planet. If there weren’t, we’d still be clubbing each other with thigh bones over possession of water holes in the Great Rift Valley. That being said, there are some who rise to special attention.
My vote will often go to rebels, outlaws, explorers, discoverers, and generally anyone who stand out from or against the herd. My political philosophy, Eleutherianism, is the belief that society exists to maximize the freedom and achievement of individuals. People who shake up the settled order keep society from ossifying.
To that end, I name this man:
as this weblog’s person of the year.
Yes, Edward Snowden. Some have called him a traitor, and many in government want to put him on trial. That latter fact makes me like him more. But what he did was show the world the extent to which the American government is penetrating into the lives of many.
I understand the need for secrets. Well, my understanding isn’t that great, but I suppose there are some things perhaps on rare occasions that have to be kept quiet. However, given the revelations of what the NSA, IRS, et al. have been doing, the settled balance was too far in favor of government.
I don’t know what Snowden’s motivations were. Perhaps he was just tired of his life and wanted a change. Perhaps he was looking for fame. He may have started out with petty motives and grew into the role of hero. As a writer, I care about motives, but in social terms, I care only about action. Snowden revealed deep wrong.
How this will work out is up to the rest of us. Obama has already tried to make this go away with a blue ribbon panel of bunkum. As with everything that goes wrong in his administration, he’s trying to shut this up. Its our job to see that he never can. That way, Snowden is a hero, but not a tragic one.