Julian Assange and the Inevitable Fall of Leftist Saviors

The bulk of the Wikileaks revelations were either diplomatic tittle-tattle, or actually showed the U.S. and its allies in a good light while exposing the mendacity of its enemies (Syria, Russia, North Korea, Iran). Even the smattering of potentially interesting revelations were mostly common knowledge to people who take an interest in foreign affairs and national security matters. Wikileaks has caused nothing more than mild embarrassment to those it sought to expose; a couple of diplomats may have been recalled, but no governments have fallen.

Ironically, even as Wikileaks' fortunes have waned, governments have been falling across the Arab world amid upheavals of the kind Assange no doubt fantasized about fomenting in the West. And these governments have been brought down not by the machinations of self-styled digital anarchists, but by spontaneous popular uprisings. The Arab Spring has served to highlight the impotence and irrelevance of Assange and his cohorts.

So why did the left in general, and their leading media lights in particular, allow themselves to manipulated by Assange? I'd suggest it's due in large part to the left's need for a narrative to explain why their ideas are generally rejected by electorates in Western nations, and why, when they do win power, they inevitably fail to deliver on their utopian promises. (This is particularly the case in the U.S. and the Anglosphere, but even European governments regarded as socialist by American conservatives are often viewed as centrist by those countries' left-wing movements). For the left, its failure to win lasting power and influence can only be explained by the existence of sinister forces pulling the strings and brainwashing electorates.

The existence of Wikileaks helps to support this narrative. The left was never much concerned with the specifics of the leaks; they were more excited about the fact that secrets -- any secrets -- were being exposed, and by the notion that America (even under Obama, who's proved such a disappointment to the left in matters of national security, from his embrace of drone attacks to his failure to close Guantanamo Bay) and other “right-wing” governments were somehow being undermined. In the minds of the left, secrecy, corruption, and the abuse of power are exclusive to the right. According to their warped logic, the very existence of Wikileaks proved there must be a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.

Added to this is the left's enthusiasm for all forms of disruption to the “established order,” whatever the consequences. From Wikileaks to the Occupy movement to last year's London riots, whether it's leaked diplomatic cables or smashed windows at Starbucks, leftists like to imagine they're bringing down that old order, and that whatever emerges from the chaos will be somehow “better.” The only flaw in their plan, as Michael Moore so eloquently conceded, is that they have absolutely no idea what that “better” system will look like.

That won't stop the left from dreaming, or from pressing ahead with the “destroy free market democracy” stage of their plan for world domination. But in their desperation to prevail they have an unfortunate habit of throwing their lot in with every thug or fraud they believe will advance their cause. Julian Assange is the latest figurehead to prove an embarrassment and a liability, and he won't be the last.