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Aaron Swartz' 14,500 page Secret Service file
August 14, 2013 3:01 AM   Subscribe

The U.S. Secret Service has begun releasing their roughly 14,500 pages on Aaron Swartz in response to a FOIA lawsuit against the DHS by Kevin Poulsen (DHS filing, groklaw). Poulsen's FIOA was delayed by MIT and maybe JSTOR fighting against the release.

In late July, MIT released their own report to heavy criticism from Lawrence Lessig (earlier) and Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, who called the MIT report a whitewash.

The MIT report has however helped further expose the role of Prosecutor Stephen Heymann. In March, Swartz' attorney Eliot Peters filed a complaint for professional misconduct against Stephen Heymann over his withholding of exculpatory evidence and abuse of plea bargaining (see also tarensk). The Obama administration has yet to issue a response to the petitions requesting the removal of Stephen Heymann or Carmen Ortiz.
posted by jeffburdges (49 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Christ, that's one hell of an obituary. Well done kid.
posted by three blind mice at 3:03 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone know if JSTOR actually opposed the release? All the original sources suggest no, except for one Poulsen piece that says they testified at the FOIA hearing. All Poulsen's explicit statements blame only MIT.

"I have never, in fifteen years of reporting, seen a non-governmental party argue for the right to interfere in a Freedom of Information Act release of government documents. My lawyer has been litigating FOIA for decades, and he’s never encountered it either. It’s saddening to see an academic institution set this precedent." - Poulsen
posted by jeffburdges at 3:11 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Peters' complaint, which was filed in late January but has not been previously reported, makes additional charges that cannot be revealed because the government fought for a protective order that keeps case information secret. Peters is attempting to have that order lifted.

I am so tired of reading this. How can you have a free society when you have no idea what your government is doing?
posted by empath at 3:13 AM on August 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


Also, the ONLY reason we are hearing about all this prosecutorial misconduct is that the guy was a well-off white kid with a lot of powerful allies whose family can afford a really good attorney. Imagine how often these guys railroaded the poor and powerless into horseshit jail terms.
posted by empath at 3:15 AM on August 14, 2013 [29 favorites]


How can you have a free society when you have no idea what your government is doing?

To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free beer", not as in “free speech”.
posted by three blind mice at 3:22 AM on August 14, 2013


To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free beer"

Warning: the IRS may disagree with this way of thinking.
posted by jaduncan at 3:36 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Imagine how often these guys railroaded the poor and powerless into horseshit jail terms.

The prosecutors also almost certainly knew that a good attorney was coming in this case and still acted like this, so yeah.
posted by jaduncan at 3:38 AM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Just reading a bit of MIT's report to the president:

MIT’s counsel noted that no one at the Institute was looking forward to the time, disruption and stress involved in testifying at hearings and trial. The prosecutor’s response was that it disturbed him whenever a defendant “systematically revictimized” the victim, and that was what Swartz was doing by dragging MIT through hearings and a trial. He analogized attacking MIT’s conduct in the case to attacking a rape victim based on sleeping with other men.

This isn't even wrong, it's just bizarre.

To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the point Heymann appears to be trying at seems "not so much unlikely, more a sort of mismatching of concepts, like the idea of the Suez crisis popping out for a bun."

The prosecutorsaid that, pre-indictment, he had wanted to approach the case on a human level, not punitively. To this extent he made an extremely reasonable proposal, and was “dumb-founded” by Swartz’s response. The prosecutor said that the straw that broke the camel’s back was that when he indicted the case, and allowed Swartz to come to the courthouse as opposed to being arrested, Swartz used the time to post a “wild Internet campaign” in an effort to drum up support. This was a “foolish” move that moved the case “from a human one-on-one level to an institutional level.”

One wonders what "institutional level" means. Perhaps, for example, that the case should be prosecuted so as to protect the image and credibility of the prosecution rather than on its legal merits or the ethics involved.

The prosecutor responded that the government believed that some custody was appropriate. He said the government had to consider not only the views of the immediate victims, but also general deterrence of others.

I find myself agreeing this principle needs some application, though perhaps not as Heymann ever imagined.
posted by weston at 4:12 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The prosecutor’s response was that it disturbed him whenever a defendant “systematically revictimized” the victim, and that was what Swartz was doing by dragging MIT through hearings and a trial.

Yeah fuck him for exercising his constitutional right to a fair trial.
posted by empath at 4:30 AM on August 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


The prosecutor’s response was that it disturbed him whenever a defendant “systematically revictimized” the victim, and that was what Swartz was doing by dragging MIT through hearings and a trial.
If we're on an Adams kick it seems Heymann believes resistance should be futile
posted by fullerine at 4:43 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


The prosecutors also almost certainly knew that a good attorney was coming in this case and still acted like this, so yeah.


This is the curious thing for me. Swartz was a well-connected programmer. Disregarding his own resources, he literally needed one billionaire to take an interest in this, and he would have access to hot and cold running lawyers.

In pure game theory terms, the best offence would seem to be the Reagan gambit - convince the other party that you are totally unpredictable, and might escalate wildly at any moment for obscure reasons.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:55 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Carmen Ortiz is getting called out today in Wired:
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Friends Should Not Spend 25 Years in Prison
They’re collateral damage in the Boston Marathon bombing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:04 AM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Aaron Swartz' case has made such progress only because he had rich influential friends who his suicide really galvanized, empath, but..

Anecdotally, we've seen far more uproar over injustices committed against ordinary people lately empath, which might slowly change the political landscape. I'd personally credit most ordinary cases to technology like camera phones, internet, etc. exposing the brutality of law enforcement and facilitating communications about abuses.

We've a growing awareness that law enforcement no longer requires this historical coddling* of police and prosecutors, and that they should be forced to obey the laws themselves for a change. In Swartz' case, Heymann escalated his efforts because Swartz' used the case to help raise this awareness (via).

In effect, Heymann sought to defend his personal power and privilege against the encroachment of the more transparent society that's slowly moving against all typical law enforcement abuses. We need to make an example of him for that, ideally Ortiz too, by keeping the pressure on to get them fired, exposing every missstep both past and present, complain about any promotions, etc.

* To oversimplify, cops, prosecutors, etc. are at some level "bad people" that society has historically lauded for rechanneling their thuggish urges into limiting the less controllable thugs, called criminals. Any time you hear people talk about "service" in this context, the 'memetic epidemiology' behind their statement sounds more like "Aren't you glad such a strong man played by some rules and didn't just kill, rape, etc. you. Please be nice to him to encourage others."

We've certainly worsened law enforcement in many ways through dumb legislation, feeding them anabolic steroids, encouraging militaristic behavior, and spending too much money on them : Law enforcement is the only area of discretionary spending that increases relative to GDP, consuming over 12% to the total federal budget growth as a share of GDP since 1972. But cops and prosecutors were always bad guys that we coddled because they weren't as bad as they might've wished to be.

posted by jeffburdges at 5:12 AM on August 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


* To oversimplify, cops, prosecutors, etc. are at some level "bad people" that society has historically lauded for rechanneling their thuggish urges into limiting the less controllable thugs, called criminals. Any time you hear people talk about "service" in this context, the 'memetic epidemiology' behind their statement sounds more like "Aren't you glad such a strong man played by some rules and didn't just kill, rape, etc. you. Please be nice to him to encourage others."

I can't recall hearing things described quite this way before, but this makes quite a bit of sense intuitively.
posted by kengraham at 5:31 AM on August 14, 2013




In pure game theory terms, the best offence would seem to be the Reagan gambit

Actually, that was Nixon.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:56 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


One thing I think should really stop is the effort to make Swartz a secular saint. Shortly after he died, Larry Lessig summarized the situation as "I am right, therefore I am right to nuke you."

That was the problem. The federal prosecutors were right, therefore they felt "right" to squash him like a bug. THAT is what was wrong and obscene. Compare to what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did with Swartz's criminal tresspass count, which was to put it on a deferred prosecution. The Commonwealth does this with many first time offenders: stop the prosecution, but use the threat of it to coerce the would-be defendant to find soemthing else to do with himself.

Both the Commonwealth and the Feds were right. But the Commonwealth did the right thing with that. And the Feds did not.

This needs to kept in mind. Aaron Swartz's actions were rude (they caused inconvenience to MIT researchers and sysadmins), unethical (he conscripted MIT into his quest for open access, thereby depriving MIT and individuals in MIT of their autonomy to make their own decisions about this issue), at minimum. If we make him into a saint, then the lessons from this case will not be applied to protect the next person caught being young, stupid, and wrong.
posted by ocschwar at 8:04 AM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


The federal prosecutors were right, therefore they felt "right" to squash him like a bug. THAT is what was wrong and obscene.

Yes. Although I see twin problems here, first the idea that squashing people can be a solution in its own right. Second, that the debate about the free flow of cultural information has been weaponized to the degree that squashing people can seem justified.
posted by tychotesla at 8:18 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Some of us do see a moral problem where we live in a society where I can buy Angry Birds for a buck, but academic research that has already been paid for by public grants, tuitions, university fees and other costs and resources provided often from the public commons cost insane amounts to access. It's a monopoly, the centralization through middlemen is obsolete and it deters progress. In the public sector, we talk all the time about evidence-based solutions, but nobody ever has a budget for accessing journals. Bad decisions are being made every day because there is a disconnect between academia and practice and a big barrier is the mere fact that there is a paywall for a lot of knowledge that taxpayers themselves funded.
posted by Skwirl at 8:55 AM on August 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


For instance, I was looking for several articles regarding public housing policy and I tried to access the relevant journals from the Library of Congress, but they did not have access. Congressional aides who write the first draft of law don't have access to academic information that was often publically funded and that's why you see a lot of reliance on biased think tanks in legislation and journalism. It's a bad joke.
posted by Skwirl at 9:08 AM on August 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


jeffburdges: To oversimplify, cops, prosecutors, etc. are at some level "bad people" that society has historically lauded for rechanneling their thuggish urges into limiting the less controllable thugs, called criminals. Any time you hear people talk about "service" in this context, the 'memetic epidemiology' behind their statement sounds more like "Aren't you glad such a strong man played by some rules and didn't just kill, rape, etc. you. Please be nice to him to encourage others."

kengraham: I can't recall hearing things described quite this way before, but this makes quite a bit of sense intuitively.

It's also a good way to handle the problem of surplus labor, especially when some of them feel a strong, keen sense of eroding privilege and bitterness at their own precarity: create an apparatus that employs one bunch to punch downwards and imprison or enslave another bunch. So you manufacture both the "bad people" and designate the "badder people" against whom they are to channel their aggression.

What the Swartz case demonstrates is the way this mode of organization and thuggery reproduces itself, even when we are ostensibly "higher" in the social hierarchy: here a "bad person" is a tough prosecutor who takes on a "badder person," another degreed professional who threatens to undermine a profitable institution. Those aren't ideas or publicly-funded research, they're someone's intellectual property, dontchaknow?
posted by kewb at 9:13 AM on August 14, 2013


Those of you interested in the internal response within MIT should read my advisor Ethan Zuckerman's blog post about Hal Abelson's report. In brief, Ethan says that MIT people have three options:

1) leave
2) speak out
3) work to change the institution
I would hope that there’s another option: making clear that members of MIT’s community believe that MIT has responsibilities beyond “neutral” compliance, and working to change the culture that so badly failed Aaron. Evidently, it’s up to the MIT community – and the broader internet community – to make sure this report isn’t the final word on MIT’s role in Aaron’s prosecution and to ensure that Abelson’s questions in the report do not remain unanswered. I hope that President Reif’s promise to engage with Abelson’s questions leads to real change in an institution that has much to answer for, and I plan to push as hard as I can from the inside to ensure that MIT’s response to Aaron’s death does not end with this report.
posted by honest knave at 9:33 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


3) work to change the institution

Can you point to an academic institution where internal pressure successfully LARTed the legal department after an incident?
posted by ocschwar at 9:54 AM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gosh, Aaron Swartz's lawyers are accusing the prosecution of misconduct!! What an unprecedented development! Why, it is truly astounding that they haven't been thrown in jail already--as usually happens to every prosecutor who is accused of overreach by defense attorneys. It must be a political cover up!

I'm entirely willing to believe that the prosecution made a bad judgment call in its negotiations with Swartz's legal team. Given that Swartz killed himself while they were still in the "negotiations" phase, however (we don't actually know what charges would have been brought against Swartz in court had the case ever gone to trial, we don't know what sentence would have been argued for by the prosecution, we don't know what the judge would actually have imposed assuming a conviction) it seems to me that there is a pernicious moral error that badly distorts most people's assessment of this case, which is to somehow assume that Swartz's suicide was a predictable and rational response which gives us a measure of the seriousness of the "persecution" to which he was subject. But this is absurd. People face the kind of sentence that Swartz realistically faced (and no, there was precisely zero chance of him getting the theoretical maximum for any of the charges that might have been brought against him in court) every single day in the US without feeling that suicide is their only remaining option. Had Swartz had to serve any time at all (and that's a pretty big if) he would have done so in a minimum security setting and, unpleasant as it would no doubt have been, he would have faced no serious impediment to his future earning power upon release from prison (unlike the vast majority of inmates). If anything, it would have enhanced his celebrity in his particular field. Swartz killed himself because of long-standing psychological problems, not because he was subject to some kind of Les Miserables-scale persecution by an insane prosecutor.

Nor can I understand why there is such a sense of outrage that he was subject to prosecution at all. Swartz himself clearly understood that he was breaking the law. He didn't just wander into the MIT library and start downloading JSTOR articles. He hid computers in what were clearly non-public areas of the university and programmed them to access the articles in a way that was explicitly contrary to agreements he had entered into with the University in order to gain access to their network at all. He was not acting in good faith and he knew perfectly well that what he was doing was illegal and subject to legal sanction. And, furthermore, he denied access to JSTOR's database for every single other person on campus on multiple occasions because he fucked up the technical details of his own scheme.

There may be an argument to be made that the laws he was breaking are bad laws and that civil disobedience against those laws is justified. But if you undertake civil disobedience you should do so knowing that this means you are willingly putting yourself at risk of prosecution in order to protest the law under which you will be prosecuted. It does not mean that the prosecution is supposed to unilaterally say "oh, gee, you don't like that law? Oh, I'm so sorry, I guess I'll choose not to enforce it, then."
posted by yoink at 10:21 AM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


yoink: if you read the MIT report, you will find that MIT did not conclude that Aaron had gained unauthorized access to the network.
posted by honest knave at 10:25 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Swartz himself clearly understood that he was breaking the law.

Incorrect.

There's more than enough evidence to indicate Swartz thought he was breaking MIT policy, and that he was willing to risk disciplinary action.

It's also clear that the damned fool didn't realize that since he did not have a formal tie to MIT, there would be no disciplinary action.
posted by ocschwar at 10:26 AM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another reason to throw Oritiz out of her position (and disbar her) is that she attempted to steal (property worth) over a million dollars. A common mugger is a more ethical creature. Ortiz is a common thug.

Her office wanted to 'send a message' by stealing this property. What exactly kind of messages are they trying to send?
posted by el io at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think it's interesting the items they considered evidence that they removed from his home. Not only the expected computers and hard drives and an Office Depot brand DVD labeled "Bibliographic Data Which Mysteriously Appeared One Day As The Sun Was Shining," but also someone's master's thesis from 50 years ago.
posted by bluefly at 11:16 AM on August 14, 2013


It's also clear that the damned fool

What?
posted by polymodus at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2013


What?

Did I stutter? If you want to play cat & mouse with a college's staffers, make sure you have some formal relationship with that college so if you're caught, your actions will be dealt with under disciplinary procedures. Without a formal relationship the college can threaten to sever, your actions become a matter for the law.
posted by ocschwar at 12:05 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Had Swartz had to serve any time at all (and that's a pretty big if) he would have done so in a minimum security setting and, unpleasant as it would no doubt have been, he would have faced no serious impediment to his future earning power upon release from prison (unlike the vast majority of inmates).

I'm pretty much on ocschwar's side regarding the 'sainthood' of Swartz, but I don't think this is that big an "if." My understanding was that the prosecutors threatened a guidelines sentencing recommendation of seven years, and while the federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory for judges to follow, they are followed in the majority of cases unless the prosecutor specifically allows otherwise. Until Americans recognize that putting someone in prison for seven years is an absolutely terrible thing to do to someone (though certainly in cases necessary), we won't have anything resembling a functioning justice system.
posted by dsfan at 12:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


How could the Swartz case possibly require 14,500 pages of documentation? Did it include, like, every single thing he'd ever posted to the web, printed out in 24-point type? A copy of every homework assignment he'd done since kindergarten?

How big was the file on Osama Bin Laden, for Pete's sake?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:02 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]




Did I stutter? If you want to play cat & mouse with a college's staffers, make sure you have some formal relationship with that college so if you're caught, your actions will be dealt with under disciplinary procedures. Without a formal relationship the college can threaten to sever, your actions become a matter for the law.

It doesn't make sense to declare how people should behave, when there is no complementary questioning and discussion about the ethics and consequences of the existing system of institutional boundaries. This is relevant because a) otherwise, all you have to offer is a subjective heuristic, and b) Swartz's transgressions cannot be separated from the context of his worldviews, which were reflexive (however flawed his approach) of and on these larger social issues. I am not the first person to make these observations. For example, the MIT report was largely about the need to make sense of these kinds of dynamics.
posted by polymodus at 1:27 PM on August 14, 2013


In plain English, I guess what I'm trying to say is that Swartz was not a fool, not more than any other human being. He was just "playing" a very different game than most of us, and it cost him his life.
posted by polymodus at 1:31 PM on August 14, 2013



It doesn't make sense to declare how people should behave, when there is no complementary questioning and discussion about the ethics and consequences of the existing system of institutional boundaries.


It makes perfect sense to expect people to know how the institutional boundaries around them are drawn, and what that means vis a vis what they want to do. And to call those who ignore these details damn fools.
posted by ocschwar at 1:36 PM on August 14, 2013


It makes perfect sense to expect people to know how the institutional boundaries around them are drawn, and what that means vis a vis what they want to do.

Why, and how do you know this?
posted by polymodus at 1:40 PM on August 14, 2013


He was just "playing" a very different game than most of us, and it cost him his life.

It didn't "cost him his life," and it is silly sentimentalizing to pretend it did. He wasn't shot by campus cops as he entered the service cupboard where he'd hidden his computer or something. A man with a long history of struggling with depression comitted suicide. Pinning that on the legal troubles he was facing is simplistic and self-serving. His family had been deeply worried about the possibility if him committing suicide long before he ever got in trouble with the law. To say that these actions "cost him his life" would be as silly as saying that someone who committed suicide after being dumped by their girlfriend had been "murdered."
posted by yoink at 1:44 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It didn't "cost him his life," and it is silly sentimentalizing to pretend it did. He wasn't shot by campus cops as he entered the service cupboard where he'd hidden his computer or something. A man with a long history of struggling with depression comitted suicide. Pinning that on the legal troubles he was facing is simplistic and self-serving. His family had been deeply worried about the possibility if him committing suicide long before he ever got in trouble with the law. To say that these actions "cost him his life" would be as silly as saying that someone who committed suicide after being dumped by their girlfriend had been "murdered."

Well I think both perspectives are true. There are people who do that sentimentalizing you talk about, but there exist more moderate views that don't try to compartmentalize his various actions and behaviors. I think those views are more reasonable.

I've probably said enough of my views thus far… Feel free to memail me if I've really said anything outlandish.
posted by polymodus at 1:50 PM on August 14, 2013


Why, and how do you know this?

Because it makes my life easier to know that I can come to my company's office at any hour and it would not be a problem even if I just sit on a couch and read a book, while if I do this with the company next door, there might be issues.

Because it makes my life easier to know that if I act like a twit at work, I might get fired, while if I act like a twit at someone else's workplace, I might get arrested.

It simply makes sense to know where these boundaries are drawn if you want to live like an adult, regardless of how those lines came to be drawn or whether you feel they should be redrawn.

If you come onto the MIT campus and cause a nuisance, you might get arrested, while an enrolled student doing the same thing would merely risk a meeting before the committee on discipline. If you don't already understand these distinctions, I wonder how you've managed living as an adult.
posted by ocschwar at 2:32 PM on August 14, 2013


I thought this passage from the MIT report was interesting.

One particularly pertinent moment was in June 2011 when the Media Lab Director [Joi Ito] informed the administration that Aaron Swartz was charged with “unauthorized access” and suggested that MIT would be in a position to cast doubt on this charge if so desired (see section III.B.1). …

It was brought to my attention by a post on Lawrence Lessig's blog.

My question is this -- why didn't Joi Ito do more? He knew Aaron Swartz. They moved in the same circles. Why didn't he fall on his sword for Swartz? Why did he accept a job at an institution that was at the heart of this case, and then do nothing but lamely inform the administration that they could "cast doubt on this charge if so desired"?

Ito's action was shockingly tepid, reflecting a cowardly reticence, given the stakes against Swartz. Ito was in a position to make a difference here, and he didn't.
posted by Unified Theory at 3:08 PM on August 14, 2013


there was precisely zero chance of him getting the theoretical maximum for any of the charges that might have been brought against him in court

Wrong. Heymann was already upping the ante merely because Swartz stood up for himself. Heymann would've unquestionably sought the maximums as a "deterrent".

If enough people fully extrapolated that DOJ "deterrent" logic, then we'd find random Iraq war vets assassinating DOJ prosecutors for this sort of shit. It's uncivilized, sociopathic, etc. when the DOJ does it too.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:20 PM on August 14, 2013


Wrong. Heymann was already upping the ante merely because Swartz stood up for himself. Heymann would've unquestionably sought the maximums as a "deterrent".

It's not even clear that the case would ever have gone to trial. Had it gone to trial we do not know what charges would have been brought (there's a big difference between the charges you can get a Grand Jury to indict someone one and the charges you're reasonably confident you can get a conviction on). Had he been convicted there is simply no way, at all, that a white kid without any serious prior convictions and with high-powered legal representation would have received the maximum possible sentence.
posted by yoink at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2013


Swartz killed himself because of long-standing psychological problems, not because he was subject to some kind of Les Miserables-scale persecution by an insane prosecutor.

There is a very good argument that he killed himself because he had long-standing psychological problems and because he was subject to some kind of Les Miserables-scale persecution by an insane prosecutor.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:16 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Many pages intentionally left blank.
posted by telstar at 8:41 PM on August 14, 2013




I think the world would be a much better place if there were more people like Aaron, and less like Ortiz.
posted by MikeWarot at 6:57 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is an amusing quote in What Happens When You Abolish Tipping by Jay Porter related to the "prosecutors are bad people" bit :

"I think the most notable opponent we encountered who wanted to cling to the tipping model was our local city attorney. In spite of our posted signs and check stamps and menu text and blog posts that outlined the service charge, his office accused us of trying to deceive consumers with it, and threatened me with fines and jail time. I thought this made me a special kind of outlaw, until this year when the same city attorney tried to stick one of my neighbors with 13 years in jail for writing protest slogans on the sidewalk using water-soluble children's chalk. In neither case did the prosecutor prevail. But the example illustrates, I think, the kind of person who will fight to save tipping culture: a person who lives in a world of offenses and punishment, someone invested in the idea of authority and the feeling of power. Incidentally, this kind of person is often a middle-aged white guy."
posted by jeffburdges at 3:59 PM on August 15, 2013




It simply makes sense to know where these boundaries are drawn if you want to live like an adult, regardless of how those lines came to be drawn or whether you feel they should be redrawn.



Sorry, all I see here is an opinion pretending to be some sort of abstracted common sense. Research from both the sciences as well as humanities continually tells us that the relation between the individual and the social system they are embedded in is by no means "simple". Some have further said that navigating it is the heart of the struggle. Swartz was an adult. I'd question that the implication made here, that he somehow wasn't a proper adult, is a sign of some ideological bias going on. I think most people could do without these types of "shoulding" statements.
posted by polymodus at 4:25 PM on August 16, 2013


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