Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Aaron Swartz Memorial

Suicide is a ‘bad business’, said the critic Cyril Connolly, the tragedy of death compounded by the mysterious agency of the deceased themselves. For the living, the desire to celebrate the life of the loved one is complicated and even undermined by intrusions of blame, regret, or fear of contagion. And yet one must celebrate.

Aaron Swartz, the created of Reddit and other Internet marvels, was by all accounts an extraordinary kid, talented to the level of genius as well as unusually generous of spirit. He was dedicated to the democratization of information, and his disappearance is a terrible blow to that fight.

But the political outrage of his death is that he was hounded by federal prosecutors far out of proportion to his misdemeanors, and that is the logical focus of a memorial service dedicated to his work. The memorial was held in the historic Great Hall of Cooper Union yesterday, the room where Lincoln gave his famous speech opposing the extension of slavery to the territories and the NAACP first met to launch the civil rights movement.

Luckily, that call to action did take place, finally, as Swartz’s partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman accused the federal prosecutors of being ‘hellbent on destroying Aaron’s life’. But during the first hour that I attended, the Swartz memorial tilted toward the funereal, which while understandable is also a distraction. Let’s hope the friends and family can channel their grief toward the fight to end this sort of all-too-common prosecutorial abuse and, incidentally, put the feet of the liberal establishment to the fire for its ongoing collusion with the Obama attack on whistleblowers and Internet freedom.

Note that the oh-so-liberal Boston prosecutor in his case is sometimes mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for statewide office. We’re being gobbled up by smiley-faced operatives all P.C. friendly to gay rights and birth control pills while doing the 1%’s bidding, and it’s time to wake up from that cozy dream.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this piece. As you keep reminding us, it's important that just because those whom many liberals perceive to be "our guys" are in power, we shouldn't put aside being vigilant in behalf of democracy. In fact, we need to be even more so. It's easier to be duped by your "friends" than your enemies. Let's hope that more self described liberals wake up before it's too late.