Neither Hero Nor Traitor

Why must Edward Snowden either be a hero or a traitor? Why must we categorize people and events into sound bites that distort and deflect reality? Let’s say he had the good motives he says he had, couldn’t we still recognize the harm of what he did, including complicating existing tensions between the U.S. and China, or the erosion of trust with our government? The latter may not be surprising, for Snowden, like Assange before him and to some degree Bradley Manning, deeply distrust government. And further their view of security and privacy does seem to be shaped accordingly. In all three cases, and each in their respective way, they appear a curious mixture of being both willing and unwitting martyrs to their cause, implying, if one gives them all benefits of doubt, that they acted from principles. Principles are important, but it is far better when they coexist with wisdom. In all three cases, there are questions as to how much wisdom they displayed.