Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XLII: Julian Assange – hero or sainted hero? – the please don’t hack me edition, and catch-and-release Jesus

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Darth-Vader-Evangelical/dp/1439159971">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

Editors Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here

Matt, what do you think about WikiLeaks/Julian Assange? Is he a hero or a traitor? Or is he just an average Joe trying to make a living?  -  LibertyBelle

Allow me to walk you through my thought process here, because like Julian Assange, I believe in transparency. I’m of divided mind on this. On the one hand, the First Amendment-loving libertarian in me likes to say put all available information out there, and let the chips fall. As I’m fond of pronouncing, “Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off.” (Actually, I didn’t say that. Samuel Johnson did. So let’s keep that our little secret.)

On the other hand, the patriot in me who hates creepy, condom-eschewing anti-Americans who resemble, as my friend Michael Moynihan put it, “Edgar Winter as imagined by Jim Henson,” wouldn’t mind seeing him put in a cage at Gitmo. Not just because he might’ve compromised American security and endangered personnel, but because I think there’s too many Muslims there, and I don’t see why, while they’re in an American prison, they shouldn’t be subject to the same diversity concerns as the rest of us.

So you ask if he’s a hero or a traitor? Well, he can’t very well be a traitor. Assange is Australian. Maybe if he’d gone around revealing Elle Macpherson’s beauty secrets or the Foster’s Lager recipe, then we could hang him on that hook. The more fitting question might be is he a hero or an a-hole? And after weighing the evidence, after seeing his rabid supporters hack into Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, eBay and Amazon – because what better way for free-speech absolutists to get their point across than crippling everyone who doesn’t agree with them – I’m going to have to go with “hero.” Strike that, “sainted hero.” Not because I believe he is, mind you. I just have to play it safe.  I can’t afford to see The Daily Caller’s online store go down during the Christmas season, since I get a cut of every Ask Matt Labash thong sold. Daddy needs a new iPod Touch

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  • Brutus2

    If these were simply unsolicited documents received by someone who could reasonably be judged a journalist for publication, he should be afforded the 1st Amdt. protections due. However, this is someone who actively solicits spies to deliver classified information, thereby participating in espionage, then compounds these actions by making extortion demands of the U.S., based upon his ability to release further fruits of that espionage.
    At this point, pending any terrorist exploitation of information in the leaks that would increase his culpability, it would appear Assange has voluntarily removed himself and his organization well outside free speech protections.

  • Oldetrip

    How Julian Assange ( Editor-in-chief and spokesperson for WikiLeaks ) will end

    http://olderime.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/how-julian-assange-editor-in-chief-and-spokesperson-for-wikileaks-will-end/

  • tinteardrop

    ‘Sunshine is a great disinfectant’. That governments should have to contend with this type of adversary is healthy as long as it’s applied to all across the board. The issue I have with Assange, aside from a general creepiness, is his apparent, selectivity based on targeted hatred. If someone with this skill and capability releases information in a manner designed and intended to create the demise of a particular target for personal satisfaction while withholding information about those they ‘like’ that are effectively as culpable, the person would have to be considered dangerous.

    I don’t know what category this guy is in but so far, after much thought about what I’ve seen so far, he’s exposed a lot of ‘naked emperors’.

  • JoeJ

    Our foreign policy sucks – when are we going to stop killing people over 9/11 – how much is enough?

    GO – WikiLeaks/Julian Assange!

    • bigalsouth

      Joe, with all due respect, please tell me what kind of world we will live in should the U.S. presence in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, South Korea and Western Europe be eliminated? Just one big Coca-Cola advertisement with people of all faiths and political persuasions happily getting along?

      And what about the exposure of Afghani allies by Julian’s leaks? Does it bother you that killing occurred because of the leaks?

      The world is a very dangerous and complicated place and your simplistic policies are dangerous.

      • JoeJ

        Ya ‘sure thing’ – it’s all to “complicated” for us little old simple folks.

        “Not poking someone in the eye” is to simple an idea to work.

        ‘Sure thing’ – leave it to the neocon Zionists – they will make things better.

        I repeat ‘our foreign policy sucks’ – bring our troops home and things will get better – ‘guarantied.’