Time Magazine’s 2010 Person Of Year: People Vote Julian Assange, Establishment Crowns Mark Zuckerberg
Here’s how Time Magazine’s Managing Editor Richard Stengel, in his letter, leads up to his justification for the 2010 Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award:
There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another. Our sense of identity is more variable, while our sense of privacy is expanding. What was once considered intimate is now shared among millions with a keystroke.
After reading that, you’re thinking Julian Assange — I mean, right? Erosion of trust in authority? Decentralizing of power? How the hell does a Facebook account promote these populist virtues?
Answer: It doesn’t.
In fact, the Feds admit to using Facebook, and its forerunner MySpace, to better monitor us, and to better determine who we communicate with; to learn about what we may or may not be up to. If anything, Facebook helps the power establishment — governments and corporations (prospective employers) — to keep their power centralized; to better control the masses, who willfully participate in these social sites.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, by contrast, have literally turned the establishment on its head. It has foisted transparency onto the world’s only super power, as well as every other entrenched power entity — across all governments and corporations. WikiLeaks has left them scrambling to devise ways — legal or not — in which they might squash the whistleblower group, and restore their veil of secrecy — under from which they thrive.
Whereas Elliot Ness took the ever-powerful mafia leader Al Capone down using a simple tax evasion charge, Assange has revolutionized withering democracies, by merely instituting transparency. In doing so, Assange is redistributing power from the highly-secretive power elitists back to the people. Julian Assange has proven that information is in fact power, and he has found a legal way — using the protection accorded to him under the 1st Amendment — of putting the information back into the hands of the people.
How fitting that the people overwhelmingly voted for Julian Assange as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. And the power establishment — as represented by Richard Stengel — vetoed the people’s wishes and chose Mark Zuckerberg instead.