The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange

Julian Assange: A Geometry of Politics

Well, I don’t know about you – but I’m getting really sick of the circus that is taking place around Assange. Even the more serious publications are taking interest in what is clearly a farce. What’s more, I’m now seeing typically affected quotes from that washed-up old pseudo-intellectual fart Hitchens turning up in the various articles I read (“Assange has but yet to consider that he, as a member of our humble species and our august culture, should not but show deference at the altar of our expansive, regal and sustaining Civilisation” – okay, that’s not a direct quote, in fact it’s probably less pretentious and thesaurus-heavy than the original… but you get the idea).

So, I’m done – wake me up when the outcome is announced.

In the meantime, let’s look at something far more interesting: Assange’s general philosophy, as he himself has written it. An outline of which can be found in these papers – written in 2006.

The first thing that strikes the reader is the overlap of vast theoretical speculation with extremely down-to-earth observations. Here’s a baroque chunk of high ‘Assangian’ theory:

We will use connected graphs as way to harness the spatial reasoning ability of the brain to think in a new way about political relationships.

The complexity of this is clear for all to see – indeed, the language is taken from the cognitive neurosciences – but now compare this to some of the more earthy passages in the piece:

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie.

We move from the lofty thoughts of a man who is clearly very intelligent and well-read (trained in high physics – something of an expert in cognitive neuroscience and computer science, apparently), to an extremely interesting observation. This cocktail of sharp, precise analytical ability and pragmatic, well-planned calls to action are characteristic of Assange’s entire approach.

His overarching structure is interesting too. He takes as his starting point the conspiracy-model. No, I don’t mean that Assange starts out on a paranoid quest to find a cabal of ethnic evil-doers that are manipulating things from on high. Instead, he tries to conceptualise the contemporary world – which he sees as being predominantly controlled by structures of corporate government (that is, the alliance of transnational corporations and national governments) – as a sort of informal conspiracy. Assange lays it down himself in his inimitable style:

Where details are known as to the inner workings of authoritarian regimes, we see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite not merely for preferment or favor within the regime but as the primary planning methodology behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power.

What Assange means is that modern powers – which, in their tendency to make decisions behind closed doors, he views as inherently authoritarian – engage in conspiratorial behavior as a matter of course. For Assange, modern powers cannot operate openly, so they find it necessary to operate in secrete. Are these the deranged rantings of a computer obsessed lunatic? Well, if the diplomatic cables have proved one thing, it’s that there is certainly a strong tendency toward secrecy on the part of modern powers.

Here I must go into an aside – one which I hope clarifies Assange’s point. When the leaks took place many said that they were not revealing anything new. It was argued that any intelligent and educated person would have already known their content prior to their release. First of all, this was blatantly untrue in some cases (such as the leaks on China and North Korea or the leaks on Putin and Berlusconi). But in the cases this was true, it can be said to point to a very important characteristic of corporate and government power in the world today: namely, that we know these powers to be extremely opaque; we know that what they say they are doing is all lies and that we have to use our analytical powers in order to figure out what is going on around us. I ask you: does this not confirm Assange’s key point?

Assange claims that in order to break through this conspiratorial network of power, people must disrupt the power-brokers’ ability to communicate with one another:

We can split the conspiracy, reduce or eliminating important communication between a few high weight links or many low weight links.

Or again:

We can deceive or blind a conspiracy by distorting or restricting the information available to it.

We can reduce total conspiratorial power via unstructured attacks on links or through throttling and separating.

A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to comprehend its environment and plan robust action.

Assange views corporate and government power as one might view a computer network. If this network is unable to communicate effectively with itself, errors occur and it begins to break down. A similar analogy might be drawn from the human brain. If different centers of the human brain are unable to communicate with each other – say, due to destruction of certain brain-centers due to a lesion or a stroke – then cognitive defects will result and the person finds themselves, in some sense, disabled.

Assange sees information leaks as lesions or strokes for the giant brain of corporate governance. Every time a leak is released a breakdown of communication results between various actors on the national or international scene. Consider the breakdown of diplomatic relations after the leaks; could this not be seen, in Assange’s framework, as a breakdown of communication between various ‘conspirators’?

It should be noted that this seems to be Assange’s goal. Freedom of information – the reason why many people, myself included, support Assange – seems only to be secondary.

Assange sees ‘conspiracies’ – once again I’ll remind you, these are metaphorical – as ‘closed-systems’. Closed-systems are systems that do not have any outside inputs – so, that would be a group of people who make plans among themselves (this group is the ‘system’) and don’t bother taking in any information from outside of themselves, say, by looking at what is happening in the world at large (this information would be the ‘input’).

Assange claims that by destroying communication between conspiracies – that is, closed-systems – more open-systems will form. Open-systems being, of course, systems that do take in inputs from outside – or, continuing our example, groups of people who do look toward the world around them when considering what action to take.

So, that’s the essential content of Assange’s philosophy – now lets turn to the form.

As already shown, Assange borrows heavily from the information sciences – more specifically, cognitive neuroscience and computer science. This is extremely interesting because this leads his philosophy to resemble certain contemporary post-structural philosophies – most specifically, that of the 20th century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze.

Deleuze too borrowed heavily from the information sciences to support his theories – and, unsurprisingly, he too came to very similar political conclusions as Assange. Deleuze saw political organisations – and organisations generally – in terms of what he referred to as ‘structures’ and ‘multiplicities’.

For Deleuze, ‘structures’ were closed-systems – closed on themselves and resistant to anything outside of themselves – while ‘multiplicities’ were open-systems, which communicated freely with the world around them. Throughout Deleuze’s two works of political theory, ‘Anti-Oedipus‘ and ‘A Thousand Plateaus‘ – both written in collaboration with the French psychoanalyst Felix Guattari – he deals with many of the same ideas as Assange does.

Deleuze, like Assange, uses complex metaphors derived from mathematics and science to explain the world around him. And like Assange, he sees the solution to the problem of ‘closed-systems’ as to attempt to break through congealed structures and promote communication and the free spread of information.

I won’t pass any judgments on Assange’s politics or his philosophy other than that I appreciate his freeing up certain information and recognise that he is an extremely intelligent individual. But I will say that Assange’s philosophy – and WikiLeaks as an organisation – is perhaps one of the purest manifestations of a Deleuzian political movement ever to come into existence (Deleuze referred to such a political movement as a ‘War Machine‘).

If nothing else, WikiLeaks is a fascinating chapter in the history of ideas.

About pilkingtonphil

Philip Pilkington is a London-based economist and member of the Political Economy Research Group (PERG) at Kingston University. You can follow him on Twitter at @pilkingtonphil.
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38 Responses to The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange

  1. amanfromMars says:

    Very perceptive, pilkingtonphil …… with that which we would know, or think we know, being as just the tip of a Colossus of an iceberg.

    Do you think Ellingham Hall is a postmodern Station X?

  2. Maybe – but I don’t think that we should push Assange’s metaphors to the point where they become reality. Philosophers do this with Deleuze’s theories all the time too – indeed, Deleuze did it himself.

    It’s certainly nice and tidy to view reality as a computer system – or a giant synthetic brain. But, it’s neither.

    Some enlightenment philosophers did the same thing – except they used medical metaphors rather than computer science/neuroscientific metaphors; talking about ‘circulation’ and the like (note that economists borrowed heavily from this tradition).

    But it seems – to me, at least – highly artificial. By doing so we’re just projecting pictures in our heads onto the world around us. We’re attempting to grasp something far larger than ourselves through sophisticated, but ultimately facile, intellectual activity.

    My question is this: where have all the moralists gone? What happened to viewing the world in terms of good and bad conduct? Aristotle didn’t extend his ‘Metaphysics’ onto ethical and social matters – why should we?

  3. Raphael says:

    I’ve been studying Assange in action over several weeks. I sensed that he was grounded in a solid world view but had not put all the pieces together. I appreciate that you put this ‘activism’ into a philosophical context. I’d never heard of this guy. Deleuze, and now need to know more about him.

  4. emirjame says:

    How cool – I own a beautiful and much appreciated book called: Foodscapes – Towards a Deleuzian Ethics of Consumption (Rick Dolfphijn – Eburon Publishers, Delft,)

  5. homepw says:

    Thre is little in analysis that cannot be accounted for using simpler explanations. It has right that the dominant influence is computer science, which characterise the nature and limits of computation itself. Computer Science is as happy to consider the human brain as it is to analyse a complex society, a set of transistors going klunk or crypto-anarchism. it consider the nature of computability itself.

    http://yorkporc.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/everyone-and-no-one-wants-to-save-the-world/

  6. Zinc says:

    While compelling, a couple of things bother me about these theories…

    1) What would lead one to suppose that making the “conspiracy” more paranoid isn’t going to be counterproductive? The actions of the paranoid can be unpredictable, irrational, and potentially dangerous. At the very least, a clamp down on existing freedoms comes to mind. As noted here, the “conspiracy” tends to go to great lengths to protect itself. On the other hand, giving it a significant poke in the ribs may help to determine the answer to this, while providing significant entertainment value.

    2) The “conspiracy” has a notable capability to inculcate paranoia in its own right. While Assange himself is not the entirety of the Wikileaks phenomena, and we’re seeing the birth of many clones and mirrors, making an example of Assange could have an effect on those efforts. The fact that there is a single individual who essentially represents those new “open” communications channels, provides enemies of such channels a potential narrow target and/or poster-child, something that may be far more useful to the “conspiracy” than its enemies.

    3) Even if this were an accurate assessment of the circumstances at the moment, it’s unclear what the future would hold for an “open government.” The fact is, it is possible to “hide in plain sight” many secrets, at the very least by increasing the signal-to-noise. The release of masses of erroneous “secret” communications could end up making the whole thing look lilke the boy who cried wolf, or at the very least, overwhelming any attempt to monitor the “conspiracy” by burying accurate information in irrelevant “noise.” In addition, the tendency for subgroups to continue to “conspire” secretly will become harder to uncover over time as they become more familiar with the effects of technology and learn how to properly utilize it or subvert it for their own purposes.

  7. mr_crash says:

    Always pleasantly surprised to see articles that focus on this aspect of what’s going on. Not familiar with your site, but given your train of thought, I think it’s possible you might get a kick out of this blog post here:

    http://zunguzungu.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/julian-assange-and-the-computer-conspiracy-“to-destroy-this-invisible-government”/

    Which I think complements your own quite nicely. It’s also not my blog by the way and I hope this doesn’t come across as spammy, I just genuinely think you might enjoy reading it. I don’t think it delves quite as far into comparable political philosophy but it is one of the few other articles i’ve seen that have made much of an attempt to have a look at the rationale for Assange (and Wikileaks as an organisation) going about doing what they are doing.

  8. Pingback: Cryptome.org: Weighing in on the Debate on Freedom of Information « Fixing the Economists

  9. “The fact that there is a single individual who essentially represents those new “open” communications channels, provides enemies of such channels a potential narrow target and/or poster-child, something that may be far more useful to the “conspiracy” than its enemies.”

    I somehow doubt that. I just wrote an article on Assange and got far more hits than I’ve ever had before – I don’t think those readers are all angry representatives of ‘The Man’.

    Assange provides a mythic rallying point for people who want to promote freedom of information. If you engage in this, you might become famous and respected – hell, you might even get laid!

  10. michael pugliese says:

    Assange has noted with approval in speeches in Oslo, his admiration for Solzhenitsyn. Methinks he is a “classical liberal.”

  11. “Assange has noted with approval in speeches in Oslo, his admiration for Solzhenitsyn. Methinks he is a “classical liberal.””

    Whether he likes the label or not – Assange is, from reading his philosophical writings, undoubtedly an anarchist. His tactics are classic of the anarchist movement – destroy and better things shall be created. No liberal would advocate that (barring Schumpeter, perhaps – but he’s a weirdo…).

    His anarchism actually makes me somewhat uncomfortable – but, as I said, I appreciate the work he does, as it allows me access to material I otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

  12. steve davies says:

    An excellent article. There must be a fair bit of serendipity around at the moment.

    I am interested in what the work of Assange and Wikileaks means for the relationship between government, the public service and citizens. My work on this led me to three questions:

    How open does our society and the public service need to be in order to enhance democracy?

    At what point does the withholding of information impede democracy and social progress?

    At what point does the withholding of information encourage ethically and morally flawed behaviours and practices?

    To read more

    Wikileaks – Implications for the public sector http://bit.ly/ihOERi

    The public service in a Wikileaks world – Part 1 http://bit.ly/fh4W3d

    The public service in a Wikileaks world – Part 2 http://bit.ly/eDjXwK

    Looks like we are all on a bit of a journey.

    Cheers – Steve

  13. Steve,

    I’ve also been led – somewhat reluctantly, I might add – to consider the implications of freedom of information on the internet:

    http://fixingtheeconomists.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/cryptome-org-weighing-in-on-the-debate-on-freedom-of-information/

    • steve davies says:

      Hi Phil

      In relation to freedom of information on the internet I have pretty well come to the conclusion that the core problem is that many of our institutions don’t know, in effect, how to have a ‘conversation about the conversation’. I think that when the circus dies down it will become evident that Wikileaks has forced that issue and governments and their supporting institutions will have to front it in a proactive and positive manner.

      That will only happen, I suspect, when when there is a bit more rationality around the place. To date the reaction verges on hysteria with a strong dose of ‘shoot the messenger’.

      It is quite telling for me that here in Australia the reactions of citizens and government to Julian Assange and Wikileaks are worlds apart.

      • Steve,

        Well, we’re certainly in agreement there – but I think something that is currently being avoided by Assange’s supporters is how far freedom of information should go. That’s what I deal with in the second – and far less read – article.

  14. Henry Story says:

    By the way, I was just reading “The exploit, A Theory of Networks” by Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker”, which covers graph theory and Deleuze. So thanks for pointing to the similarities in Assange’s thinking.

    It is true that we have learned a lot, with Cablegate. At the highest level – that is one that makes the least presuppositions of what anyone intended, and requires the least theories to back it up – we have learned that our governments need secrecy to function. Whether it is right or not that this is so, it is clear that this contradicts their position that they should have more and more rights to look into our private lives. I write this up in more detail here

    http://bblfish.net/blog/2010/12/10/

    • Henry,

      That’s a very interesting article. As I just said to Steve above, this is the line I think that Assange’s supporters have to take – how much is too much? That’s what I discuss in the second article (the one on Cryptome – linked to above).

      You’re right though – people need to understand that the cables themselves aren’t ‘pure’ and ‘unmediated’ – they are written by diplomats reporting (usually) to their higher ups. Do you think they included anything that wouldn’t play well with the superiors? I doubt that very much. They paint Gaddaffi as a crazy – but would they have done the same with Blair (he was rather kooky, after all…). No way…

      Total transparency is a dream – a psychotic’s dream… the dream of someone who thinks that they can always read someone’s motivations… so, perhaps not simply a psychotic’s dream… but, also, a behaviorist’s dream!

      http://fixingtheeconomists.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/hey-there-pigeon-brain/

  15. amanfromMars says:

    “It’s certainly nice and tidy to view reality as a computer system – or a giant synthetic brain. But, it’s neither.” …. pilkingtonphil on December 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    But it can be at least both, and much more besides too, pilkingtonphil, for those who would be into Master Pilot Programming of Alternate Reality Games on the Universal Scale.

    Step across and up into those Live Operational Virtual Environments, for of course, there as as many versions of Reality as there are brains and virtual machines processing information input to SMART intelligence output, and you will realise that without an Active Immaculate Driver, is the Operating System which Presents you with your Daily Global View, [Give us this day our daily bread] going to deliver you just more of the same and chaos and lodes and nodes of sub prime and tainted information.

    Ergo are the Operating System Drivers and their Key Source Protocol Algorithms, which you can equate to being as akin to Nuclear Launch Trigger Codes, only much more powerful, the most vital element/component for viable continuity and stable rapid growth.

    Which you should note is not shared as a question to waste our time.

  16. Mark says:

    I think it’d be more accurate to describe Assange as a “postmodern anarchist” since his methods for attacking the state are fundamentally different from the classical anarchists. Only in the realm of ‘simulation’ (in this case, via the web) can any meaningful political action take place. That’s straight out of Baudrillard and the post-structural school of thought. And if, as Foucault argued, power creates its own resistance, then the military industrial complex’s creation of Internet is now experiencing this ‘blowback’ in the form of Wikileaks. Foucault would’ve actively encouraged such resistance as well. Anything to try to unmask and take down the state and associated forces of darkness.

  17. savage rose says:

    My preoccupation is: are the effects of this “disruption” going to be phagocytosed by “the system” in a familiar mechanism of recuperation, and become part of “the apparatus of antiproduction”?

    “The State, its police, and its army form a gigantic enterprise of antiproduction, but at the heart of production itself, and conditioning this production. Here we discover a new determination of the properly capitalist field of immanence: not only the interplay of the relations and differential coefficients of decoded flows, not only the nature of the limits that capitalism reproduces on an ever wider scale as interior limits, but the presence of antiproduction within production itself.
    The apparatus of antiproduction is no longer a transcendant instance that opposes production, limits it, or checks it; on the contrary, it insinuates itself everywhere in the productive machine and becomes firmly wedded to it in order to regulate its productivity and realize surplus value — which explains, for example, the difference between the despotic bureaucracy and the capitalist bureaucracy. This effusion from the apparatus of antiproduction is characteristic of the entire capitalist system; the capitalist effusion is that of antiproduction within production at all levels of the process. On the one hand, it alone is capable of realizing capitalism’s supreme goal, which is to produce lack in the large aggregates, to introduce lack where there is always too much, by effecting the absorption of overabundant resources. On the other hand, it alone doubles the capital and the flow of knowledge with a capital and an equivalent flow of stupidity that also affects an absorption and a realization, and it ensures the integration of groups and individuals into the system. Not only lack amid abundance, but stupidity in the midst of knowledge and science; it will be seen in particular how it is at the level of the State and the military that the most progressive sectors of scientific or technical knowledge combine with those feeble anarchisms bearing the greatest burden of current functions.”
    — Deleuze and Guattari, “Anti-Oedipus, capitalism and schizophrenia”

    Hmmm… Capitalism is a cat that usually licks its mane clean and disposes of any apparently occlusive fur balls in a swift manner.

    • “Hmmm… Capitalism is a cat that usually licks its mane clean and disposes of any apparently occlusive fur balls in a swift manner.”

      Simply depends on how you choose to look at it. If nothing short of a revolution is adequate to change anything, you’re unlikely to ever be satisfied with any change (and this, even if there’s a revolution – think of what that term means… ‘revolution’… it goes around, right… but then returns to its previous place).

      Frankly I think that attitude – and its one that Deleuze and Guatarri subscribe to, don’t doubt that – is vague, utopian and, let it be said, a little silly. No one’s ever going to be fully satisfied with the world of politics or anything else when they see the ghost of utopia standing behind it. It’s a catch-22 – like Plato’s ‘Ideas”; once you’ve conceived of the form, you’re trapped in the image.

      Finally, to give you a bit of over-inflated Deleuzian, talk try thinking of what I’m saying in these terms. D + G claim that capitalism ‘produces lack’ – personally, I don’t think it does, I think humans ‘produce lack’. But can their whole enterprise not been seen as a gigantic means of ‘producing lack’?

      Here’s what I mean. Reading D + G’s argument people come to crave a society that doesn’t exist and that will not exist until the revolution comes (will it exist even then? I doubt it…). So, this creates a lack in the mind of the reader. Their desire is sustained for the revolution, while any other action taken by anyone else to change society is sneered at – as ‘lacking’. No, I don’t think capitalism is the only system to exploit the dimension of lack – let alone the only system to ‘produce’ it – D + G’s entire system is based also on the exploitation of lack.

      • savage rose says:

        “If nothing short of a revolution is adequate to change anything, you’re unlikely to ever be satisfied with any change (…)”

        Well, this is not really what I meant to imply… Any good shake-up is better than nothing. But I am not as convinced as you seem to be that D+G are rooting for “revolution” per se — at least not in the 1789 French Republic sense of the term.

        On the other hand, I think that the creation and exploitation of “lack” — and surplus, for that matter — has reached such an extreme degree of sophistication that capitalism has transformed from a sly cat to a regal panther. The new global market economy has learnt from the past “depressions” and it now takes into account and recycles anything, be it 9/11, the “sub-prime crisis” or the supremacy of the Chinese production force. When the “free market” slips on its banana peels and a significant amount of ordinary people break an ankle (or a leg, or both legs), the State comes to the rescue so social order is safe. Public funds still come in handy.

        I appreciate, in the last paragraph of your reply: “(…) people come to crave a society that doesn’t exist and that will not exist until the revolution comes”. This is true, and I think that there is a most deliberate fabrication and maintenance of a “lack” in modern education, that creates not only the infantilist reverence for utopia you are referring to, but also a pervasive feeling of passivity and fatality.

        I cannot convince myself that the dumbing down of the whole education system (in the name of a twisted interpretation of the ideas of “accessibility” and “democratization”) is innocent and random… As you said in your post: “No, I don’t mean that Assange starts out on a paranoid quest to find a cabal of ethnic evil-doers that are manipulating things from on high. Instead, he tries to conceptualise the contemporary world – which he sees as being predominantly controlled by structures of corporate government (that is, the alliance of transnational corporations and national governments) – as a sort of informal conspiracy.” That’s very well put.

  18. marcthibault2001@yahoo.fr says:

    J’écrirai donc en français puisque c’est la langue de gilles Deleuze ,langue qu’il vous est impossible de ne pas pratiquer dès lors que vous prétendez pouvoir en offrir un commentaire.Or votre inculture totale en matière de philosophie éclate de manière tellement stupéfiante qu’il semble impossible de ne pas éclater de rire.Apprenez au moins à lire avant de parler de philosophie .Vous tenez des propos d’une incompétence rare et qui pue le yankee.Et là de passer à l’anglais
    Poor little uncultured american non-fellow if you want to speak about french philosophy ,you need to work a bit harder.It’s certainly the same thing about julian Assange.
    Too big for your little ass.Comme on sucking the damned cocks of your fucking président
    Marc Thibault professeur de philosophie Bourges

    • I was going to delete that, but… no… I don’t think I’ll bother. I’m not American by the way – you French snob – I’m Irish. How do you know how ‘hard’ I’ve worked or my connections with French philosophy? If you’d taken the time to get off your pedestal and read my bio you might see that I am, in fact, connected to a certain school of French philosophy.

      If you are, in fact, a professor of philosophy in France (I’ve never heard of you – but then, with that bombastic pseudo-intellectual gutter-talk, it’s not so surprising), they should be a little more careful to what foul mouthed hecklers they hand their posts out to – it reflects badly on an otherwise fine educational system. You reflect badly on that system – and on French philosophy… and you should be deeply ashamed.

      As I said: snob.

    • savage rose says:

      Monsieur, permettez-moi d’exprimer ma profonde perplexité devant votre ignominieux commentaire, ainsi qu’un intense scepticisme devant votre prétendue compétence à juger de la valeur du propos de l’auteur de cet article.

      Incapable de présenter une argumentation valable, vous vous rabattez sur un anti-américanisme aussi poussiéreux que non avenu. Vous n’êtes ni un snob ni un pédant, mais tout simplement un grossier personnage.

      By the way, your English is so pathetic it makes me wonder if you were at all able to grasp the meaning of this post. Any way the thing is, shameful intervention.

      • MY English is terrible? Erm, okay… sure. I’m not saying you could do with an editor or anything… but… well, we won’t go there… shall we… Are you, by any chance, the same poster who is saying that they’re a philosophy professor? I see similarities in your ‘style’ – but then, what do I know about writing and editing; after all, I can barely speak the language!

        “But I am not as convinced as you seem to be that D+G are rooting for “revolution” per se”

        Guatarri was a convinced Trotskyist – derive what you want from that, but last time I checked Trotskyists advocated revolution… and by that I mean violent upheaval by the proletariat ala 1789, 1917 etc.

        “I think that the creation and exploitation of “lack” — and surplus, for that matter — has reached such an extreme degree of sophistication that capitalism has transformed from a sly cat to a regal panther.”

        I’d like the reader to note that this is nothing but a meaningless metaphor. And I hope that this is not the same ‘philosopher’ as before, as this would undermine his professional capability. Note that the author doesn’t actually SAY anything, he/she simply ALLUDES to something. ‘Capitalism’ – whatever the author means by that term – no longer is a ‘sly cat’ – whatever the author means by that term – but a ‘regal panther’ – once again, whatever the author means by that.

        What is it you guys say? Comparaison n’est pas raison?

        Basically, what the author is saying is that capitalism has somehow become more astute at protecting itself. But the author doesn’t come out and say that because they’re afraid that the reader will see it as a silly point – so, instead they dress it up in bad metaphor to try to seem intelligent. I would encourage the reader to watch out for this pretentious pseudo-metaphorical nonsense – in other words, avoid the Thomas Friedmans of this world!

        (UPDATE: Sorry, the reader might not get the Friedman reference. Friedman is a pathetic American NYT writer who uses bad metaphors in order to hide his intellectual shortcomings. Here’s the key article on Friedman’s abuse of language {which our friend above has engaged in}: http://exiledonline.com/thomas-friedman-the-empires-useful-idiot-an-exile-classic/).

        “I cannot convince myself that the dumbing down of the whole education system…”

        When did I mention the education system? What are you talking about? Unless, of course, you’re that awful gutter-mouthed professor from earlier, then it might tie in… after all, I mentioned the French education system there and said that you were a shame on it. Now, if that’s what you’re referring to – while hiding behind a pseudonym – then fair enough. But it only makes you more of a professional joke. Grow up!

  19. savage rose says:

    @ pilkingtonphil

    It seems there was a terrible misunderstanding: my three-paragraph reply of 9:55, beginning with “Monsieur” and ending with “shameful intervention” was NOT aimed at you, but at “Marc Thibault”, the “philosophy professor” (so NO, I am not him). I should obviously have made it clearer. Woe on me.

    As for your reactions to my humble allusions, their vigour might be justified since, in effect, I am neither a “professional” philosopher or an economist, and these were, in truth and as you so keenly point out, metaphors and nothing but. These samples of “pretentious pseudo-metaphorical nonsense” were expressed, I have no shame to admit, in haste in the context of this more or less formal exchange; I did not feel compelled to adopt the rigorous style of the dissertation, with quotes and all. It seems this was ill-inspired… but it had the advantage to let us discover, amongst other information, your frank opinion on the French education system! By the way, I know very well you never mentioned the education system yourself; if I find the time I may be back and explain how I linked your mention about people’s craving for a society that does not exist and the degradation of the quality of education.

    All in all, since I agree with most of your assertions, I refuse to take umbrage — save of course for your comparing me to Thomas Friedman. Now THIS is vexing!!!

    • I formally apologise – I don’t mean that on some superficial level… I really do. That so-called ‘professor’ made me angry at the very fact that an academic institution had employed him – my lust for truth interfering with my judgment, perhaps, caused me to be a little harsh.

      Anyway, I do apologise… and my criticisms of the metaphors, I thought were focused on that French idiot and his pretentious ramblings. Once again…. sorry! I’m usually only so cruel on those that ask me to edit – which, given my temperament, are few and far between!

  20. brian says:

    So you’re “sick of the circus that is taking place around Assange” and then proceed to widen the tent to make room for your own take on it? And to drag Deleuze into it after bemoaning the “pretentious and thesaurus-heavy” editorials of others? Please.

    That’s not to criticise the general point of this post, just the delivery.

    • A Hitchens fan, I’ll assume. You obviously don’t see my point, so, I guess I’ll have to make it clear:

      (1) I didn’t take part in the so-called circus, because I never passed judgment on Assange (although I’m sure my allegiances are clear), but in order to ‘take part in the circus’ I would have had to give my opinion, which I didn’t – instead of attributing motivations to Assange as Hitchens and his other hack buddies have done (not to even mention the rape farce), I tried to give fair voice to Assange’s own philosophy… different tent.

      (2) Is referencing a philosopher who I’ve studied really being ‘pretentious’? Do you know what that word means at all? If so, then would, I don’t know, a physicist writing a paper on physics be ‘pretentious’ – or inserting observations he had learnt from physics into a related article say, on economics? Well, personally, I think not – but then, maybe you do…

      Being ‘pretentious’ is the putting on of airs the substance of which you don’t possess. Hitchens, I believe, does this all the time – and did this in his quotes on Assange which attributed to him a silly world-view Hitchens has picked up (probably half-understood).

      My point about Deleuze was not a case of putting on airs – half-understood or otherwise – but an attempt to draw comparisons between his philosophy and that of Assange. So, no, I didn’t – as you put it – drag him in, otherwise I could have simply wheeled out any philosopher and written the article accordingly (a bit like Hitchens wheeled out his ‘antinomian’ nonsense); but something tells me an article entitled ‘The Kantian Ethics of Julian Assange’ or ‘The Spinozist Monism at the Heart of WikiLeaks’, would have been a little… how shall I put it… weak…

      But, I guess that’s the danger of trying to make a subtle point – some ears simply won’t hear. I’ll live, though.

  21. Synaps says:

    Good article.

    I find myself impressed with the breath of vision of Julian Assange. His tactic to shine a light into the workings of the machine and expose the wrongdoings, and in doing so, force the “conspirators” into more convoluted communication. It is a tactic of merit. It is truth and does of itself cause no harm.

    I feel that one aspect of the “conspiracy” that is not dealt with adequately are the belief systems of the participants in the said “conspiracy”

    I suggest we consider our Fundamentalist Capitalist system a Quasi Religious thought construct. It is a feature of religious constructs that the participants have a great propensity to willingly hand over their power and belief to a dominant Hierachy.

    See my blog http://exploreingtheinfinite.blogspot.com/

    It is the hearts and minds of us all that have to be addressed.

  22. steve davies says:

    I find the emotional response of the representatives of various governments to the thoughts and actions of Julian Assange and Wikileaks at odds with the image government like to present to citizens.

    What it increasingly says to me is that in some sense they know they have been exposed and quite simply don’t like it.

    Given that governments can’t really operate without the public service it is clear to me that they need to get on a learning curve. I’ve been writing about that and think that public sevice department need to ask themselves these question:

    How open do public service agencies need to be to ensure they can function in an enhanced democracy?

    To what extent does the withholding of information from staff within agencies impede progress and performance?

    To what extent does the withholding of information from staff within agencies encourage behaviours and practices at odds with the concepts of citizen participation and enhanced democracy?

    See more on OZloop – http://apsozloop.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-public-service-in-a-2

    • All of this assuming that public services operate in favor of progress and some notion of the public good – that’s always been doubtful… today, with the underfunding of public institutions in many advanced industrial countries, it is even more so.

      Public institutions are bureaucracies – and so they will invariably operate in a bureaucratic manner. What that means is that they will always tend to operate in a manner that ensures their own survival – and the survival of those who, at a given time, assume authority.

      Everything else – every other motive – is subordinate to this. The WikiLeaks debacle has simply exposed this functioning to a wider audience (anyone with journalistic experience or who had watched ‘The Wire’ closely, has known this for a long time – Assange’s articles also show a clear understanding of this).

  23. Pingback: Must read articles on WikiLeaks. « ilNichilista

  24. D says:

    The French Professor is right. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to Deleuze.

  25. Pingback: La philosophie deleuzienne de Julian Assange | Wikileaks Actu Francophone

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