Streetwise Professor

December 27, 2011

Grandiose, Narcissistic, Nihilistic, and Twisted

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 7:45 am

Hackers claiming to be from Anonymous (a claim disputed by others claiming to speak for Anonymous) have hacked Stratfor, releasing client lists and private information (including credit card information and passwords) from subscribers.  They also defaced the Stratfor site, which as of now is still unavailable.

This is vandalism, pure and simple, however the perpetrators try to dress it up as some moral campaign and a blow for freedom.  How, exactly, does it advance freedom to disclose the names and personal information of thousands of individuals who freely contracted with Stratfor, exchanging their money for Stratfor content?  Individuals who do nothing but read what Stratfor publishes?  How does exposing innocent individuals–private individuals–to substantial financial loss serve any constructive cause?  Just because corporations and government agencies happen to be among the subscribers?  Just how does that matter?  Only to a warped mind which believes corporations and governments as inherently evil.  But even putting aside that warped view, what about the collateral damage to individuals?  Indeed, individuals, rather than the ostensible targets, are probably most vulnerable to damage from these disclosures.

And the hypocrisy of these particular vandals is breathtaking.  They revel in their anonymity–they take the word for their movement’s/organization’s name after all–but cavalierly and callously take it upon themselves to deny others their anonymity and privacy.  They presume to determine who has, and who does not have, the ability to maintain a zone of privacy, the ability to determine whom to reveal themselves to, or not.

There are certainly always reasons to be leery of government secrecy, and to challenge its necessity or appropriateness in particular instances.  But the fact that secrecy is misused by governments at time does not logically imply the opposite–that it is never necessary, and that it should be compromised at every opportunity.  That appears to be the twisted logic of the Anonymous set, and the entire constellation of conspiratorial wackos left and right.  But that view is no more defensible than the presumption that the state’s right to secrecy is absolute and unchallengeable.  What adults try to do is to figure out the proper balance, and to structure institutions and to inculcate values to maintain that balance.

The problem with government secrecy is that it can compromise accountability, thereby permitting those operating under its cloud to engage in criminal and unethical conduct, without fear of penalty.

And therein lay the irony: who holds the Anonymous types accountable?  They take it on themselves to determine who and what is deserving of privacy, and who and what is not, but are answerable to no one.

These people portray themselves to be moral paragons, crusading for justice and holding those in government accountable.  But those with accounts at Stratfor hardly fit that characterization.  And moreover, if power wielded without accountability is inherently wrong, how is Anonymous anything but inherently wrong?  To whom do they answer?

No, the simple fact is that these people are nihilistic narcissists.  In their grandiosity, they presume to stand in judgment of others, and to be above judgment themselves.  Anonymous, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange.  All of a piece.  Grandiose, narcissistic, nihilistic and twisted. Acting in the belief that they are somehow superior.  Moral and intellectual avatars fit to hold others to account, but beyond being held to account themselves.  True believers in the Stalinist creed that to make omelets you need to break eggs.

Then there is the question of why Stratfor?  Perhaps this was just opportunistic: that real targets were too difficult to crack but these narcissists needed to feed their egos with some big splash.  Perhaps there was something more deliberate about the choice.  A friend and I have been puzzling over this for the last couple of days.  Hopefully more on that later.

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  1. Whether it was actually “Anonymous” or not, no question that these were cyber-jerks, pure and simple. The real question I have is why was Stratfor storing credit card information on site? Anyone with a web presence faces the possibility of attack from the most technically savvy (China) and least moral (Russia) hackers in the world. It’s pretty inexcusable to keep sensitive data in any way accessible.

    Yes, they were terrible to steal your dog, but did you have the leave the door unlocked?

    Comment by Hal — December 27, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

  2. What exactly does Assange have to do with Anonymous?

    Nice try at smearing by association.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 27, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  3. S/O. I know you are not that stupid (although some here would dispute that). “Of a piece” means they are all grandiose, narcissistic, nihilistic, and twisted . . . not to mention believing themselves beyond accountability for their actions. The similarities are there.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 27, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  4. The ironic thing is that if Navalny had experienced a tenth of the state-sponsored prosecution directed against Assange, we would hear no end of it from the heroic democratists here.

    Navalny: 15 days detained

    Assange: 384 days detained (and counting)

    PS. Whether Assange is “grandiose, narcissistic, nihilistic, and twisted” or not has absolutely zero bearing on the lawfulness of the trumped up rape charges, the Wikileaks banking blockade, the harassment of Wikileaks staff, etc.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 27, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  5. Don’t worry, S/O. I’m sure Assange’s detention on rape charges, trumped up or no, will soon be over. Given the evidence presented at the Manning hearing, it’s pretty clear there are bigger plans in store for him. It is quite clear they are assembling a case showing that Assange conspired with Manning, and was an accessory before the fact.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 27, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  6. Given S/O’s attitudes towards women in general, it is no surprise he considers the rape charges “trumped up”, but we should all remember that S/O is a misogynistic, nihilistic, grandiose, self absorbed and twisted individual, just like Assange.

    Comment by Andrew — December 28, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  7. Don’t worry SWP dwellers, more CME types will soon be subpoenaed as part of the massive post-MF Global ‘this sort of thing only happens in Russia’ looting of client accounts. And I hope the lawyers representing those ripped off have SWP on the list of expert witnesses they’d like to subpoena to explain how the CME was perfectly honest but still lost track of $2 billion client dollars. Would serve him right for keeping such company with hateful, ad hominem-resorting maniacs that cannot bear anyone pointing out how authoritarian the U.S. is becoming. As for the CME, they better move out of Illinois and on to Dallas soon as that would make it lot easier for Paulians to picket them when more client money gets ‘lost’.

    Comment by Mr. X — December 28, 2011 @ 4:18 pm


    Celente still trying to get his money back that the CME allowed MF Global to loot…

    Comment by Mr. X — December 28, 2011 @ 7:40 pm

  9. The mafia-agent Mr. X do not understand the difference between the American System of Checks and Balances and the Russian mafia state .The US national government is divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. These three branches are not independent of one another because the Constitution set up a system of checks and balances to help ensure that no one branch became too powerful.


    Comment by Anders — December 29, 2011 @ 5:44 am

  10. Anders, how about the American system of checks and balances allowing this Internet censorship bill?;topStories

    No trace of Alex Jones here…mainstream CNET media. But only cranks believe NDAA applies to citizens or SOPA is about shutting up anti-Establishment Internet speech with the pretext of copyright violations, which come to think of it, is exactly how certain Russian NGOs have complained they’ve been shut down.

    If you want to go debate S/O about Putin do that. I’m talking about the country I live in, the United States of America. Where do you live, Denmark?

    Comment by Mr. X — December 29, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  11. “And the hypocrisy of these particular vandals is breathtaking. They revel in their anonymity–they take the word for their movement’s/organization’s name after all–but cavalierly and callously take it upon themselves to deny others their anonymity and privacy. They presume to determine who has, and who does not have, the ability to maintain a zone of privacy, the ability to determine whom to reveal themselves to, or not.”

    Like….., who babble on at this and some other places.

    Stratfor bites.

    Comment by Joke — December 29, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

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