Of Scarecrows and Whistleblowers

By Jeffrey Sterling, Reader Supported News

I find myself doing a lot of reading in prison of late, and one article in particular caught my attention. It speaks to many issues that are indicative of my being in prison. The article is “The Outside Man” and in it, Malcolm Gladwell muses over the differences between Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden. From my “inside” perspective, the distinctions Mr. Gladwell makes and the justifications for doing so are troubling. Mr. Gladwell’s perspective espouses a form of “good government” that the Bard warns against in typical Shakespearean eloquence and ageless wisdom:

“We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch and not their terror.”

It may have been Mr. Gladwell’s intention to contemplate the merits of acceptable whistleblowing vis-a-vis Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, but that is not the article’s end result. He is explaining and attempting to justify a system of governance. Lost in his unabashed blandishment is consideration of the illegitimacy and illegality of that system.

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