Edward Snowden is a wicked person, our elite masters and thoughtcrime enforcers agree: a hypocrite who, having pledged himself to the preservation of America’s national security apparatus, has betrayed his trust by exposing its corruption.
Witness, for instance, this devastating critique of Mr. Snowden by Christine Sisto, a writer for National Review Online of whom William F. Buckley would not be proud:
Snowden committed his crime because of an insatiable need to be the center of attention, and he refuses to go back to the United States because of an aversion to being told that he is wrong — two defining hipster characteristics. And if I have learned anything from living in Brooklyn, it’s that hipsters are not to be trusted.
Yet, aside from not turning himself in for enhanced interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Snowden has not exactly sought the ease and comfort of respectable whistleblower journalism, as if he had exposed Republican electoral fraud or some other such universally abhorred breach of the public trust. He publicly exposed a reality that most U.S. politicians have been unwilling to confront, even though it’s been staring them in the face since 2001: the imposition of permanent wartime abridgement of the American people’s liberties through pervasive domestic surveillance. He’s now ended up as a virtual hostage in Russia, a country not known for delighting in civil disobedience or free speech. It is likely his story will not end well. He has sacrificed anyone’s idea of a normal and happy life for his principles.
It is at least unchivalrous of the panoptic security state’s comfortable defenders to demand that its critic accept martyrdom to prove his sincerity.
If Edward Snowden’s critics were as intent as he is on exposing our country’s betrayal of its citizens, we might take their concerns more seriously. Until then, we hipster conservatives will stand up for this hipster whistleblower.