Google is evil, Assange is an ass, and I'm no CEO

Readers weigh in on Julian Assange, Google's evil ways, and who would make a good replacement for Steve Ballmer

Regular readers know that I like to end each blog post with a question. Some people respond in the comments (and invariably get into a fight with other readers). But some Cringesters take the time to write to me via my cringe@ address, where only I can see them. Here are some of the best answers I received.

First, in "Assange's latest victim: WikiLeaks," I wrote about Julian "Albino Aussie" Assange and his release of some 250,000 unredacted State Department cables on his whistleblower site. I ended by asking, "Is Assange an angel or an ass?"

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The overwhelming verdict in Cringeville: Ass.

Reader R.G. sounds like he's ready to round up a posse and a rope:

Why is this guy only releasing stuff from/about the U.S.? I don't recall seeing him releasing info on other nations (other than stuff the U.S. has said about them). This doesn't make him valiant; it makes him a terrorist. I hope the feds catch him and hang him from the highest tree.

Y.O. responds that Assange is a little of both.

[An] angel for daring to release the till then unreleasable. An ass for doing it the way he did. Matters little if he did so to bolster his ego or save his own arse. ... He's apparently able to take care of himself despite all of these revelations, most of which are of the "Ah! I sure didn't know, but now that I know, what of it?" variety. What will they change except a little more care for the security of future communications?

Meanwhile, D.F. says WikiLeaks isn't great, but somebody needs to holds the U.S. government accountable.

What WikiLeaks did is a very mixed bag, but what is clear is that our government repeatedly committed acts that were debatably illegal and misrepresented the events to a gullible press. If you watch the news, you know journalism has turned into distracting fluff that avoids hard issues and analysis. While this mode is bad, it's all that is left for democratic oversight.

In "Just how evil is Google?" I asked, well, just how evil is Google? The consensus: pretty evil, but not exactly Hitler-Stalin-Bieber evil. Reader P.L. offers these timeless words of wisdom:

Google may not have started out with evil intent, but if you don't structure your organization to enforce ethical decision-making, once the big bucks start flowing in, the evil ones among us, and the big bucks that tempt us all, will soon have anybody headed down the slippery slope of evil. Money is power, and power, when wielded by any human for any significant length of time, will corrupt. Given enough time, any organization will end up encouraging evil. The price of "goodness," as is the price of liberty, is eternal vigilance.

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