Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old high school dropout who disclosed the NSA's telephone and electronic communications surveillance programs, was charged on Friday with espionage.
A surprisingly large volume of people, particularly young people, have come to Snowden's defense. These people see Snowden as one of them -- a young, technological sophisticate from the age group that supported Barack Obama before it was cool. Snowden, like them, is a part of the generation that grew up on the Internet and was shaped by it. How the Internet has shaped many in that generation explains in part their misguided defense of Snowden, who betrayed his country, betrayed his oaths, betrayed his employer and betrayed all of the people who took a chance on a young kid with no high school diploma.
The Internet has for many in Snowden's generation fed their worst inclinations. It has inculcated in many of them a creepy isolationism, where one spends more and more time alone in front of a computer screen and less and less with real live people. Obtuse conspiracy theory, where legions of the credulous armed with the most dangerous of tools -- very little knowledge -- listen to Alex Jones or others and believe, genuinely, that government tyranny is around the corner.
And worse, the Internet has metastasized self-aggrandizement and fantasy; with Facebook people fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds of friends. They 'block' or 'delete' comments that are negative or critical of their opinions. They post countless flawless pictures of themselves for the world to see (many of them from the bathroom with cell phones). Twitter convinces them they are being followed and are special and they imagine that they've 'connected' to celebrities and others who they 'follow' or 'like'. The Internet has helped create a generation of deluded narcissists. And this in part explains both Snowden's betrayal of his country (which has much to do with his ego and delusions of grandeur) and the support he is receiving in online communities and from many young people.
Choosing to release confidential information to the American public in America is one thing, but Snowden decided to fly to China -- Hong Kong, to be precise -- and deliver confidential documents to Chinese newspapers. The absurdity of the notion that this is being done to protect the privacy of Americans is compounded by his motivation for doing so -- Snowden believes that: "all spying is wrong." As a member of the deluded narcissist generation, he also believes he has the authority and wisdom to disclose classified documents to foreign governments without a shred of concern for what ordinary Americans think or what the consequences may be.
Has anyone ever voted for 29-year-old Edward Snowden? When did Americans decide to appoint Edward Snowden vanguard of their privacy and safety? Snowden has done more than tell his countrymen about their government listening to a few phone calls; he has gone abroad and given the information to foreign governments.
In discussing his reasons for the disclosure, Snowden said:
"When NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn't declared war on the countries -- the majority of them are our allies -- but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the 'consent of the governed' is meaningless."
Absurd nonsense -- Snowden believes the public should have knowledge of spying operations overseas? Well, if that was the case the spying operations would not be very effective, now would they? He is also so naïve as to presume that because a country is allied with the United States they are a friend of the United States. And the equivocation of police killing Americans with terrorists doing so is obtuse beyond all reason. Snowden has decided that 300-million Americans should now live by his judgments and moral determinations, but many of the deluded narcissist generation fail to see any irony in proclamations about privacy and individual rights while supporting a man they did not know existed two months ago determining on their behalf which secret documents the Government of China should be given access.
Now that Snowden has been charged perhaps he'll fly to Iceland in a private jet seeking asylum, you know, like a true working class hero.