The documentary film Citizenfour recently won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film was directed by Laura Poitras and follows Edward Snowden and his exposing of NSA documents to the journalist Glenn Greenwald.
I find that asking someone about Edward Snowden is one good litmus test on someone’s stance regarding liberty. On this subject, I will tend to find more in common with liberals (in the modern sense) than with conservatives.
You can ask someone two questions and get a pretty good idea of their overall political philosophy.
1) Do you think Edward Snowden committed treason?
2) Do you think we need more government control over healthcare?
If someone answers no to both questions, he is probably a libertarian, or at least somewhat libertarian leaning. If someone answers no to the first question and yes to the second, then he is a leftist. If someone answers yes to the first and no to the second, he is probably a conservative.
Then there is the person who answers yes to both questions, who is an authoritarian and almost completely against the idea of liberty.
I really like Glenn Greenwald, even though he is a leftist. He is principled. But the most important thing is that he speaks about the issues that he is really well-versed on. He speaks mostly about war and civil liberty issues, both of which he is really great on. He doesn’t talk a lot of economics, which I am thankful for.
Greenwald looked kind of nervous when he was up on stage at the Oscars. I don’t blame him. He is probably paranoid and he should be. I’m sure the government is following his every move.
Neil Patrick Harris told a joke about Edward Snowden not being there “for some treason”. I understand he needed to be funny as host, but I think there is a time for a serious message. I don’t know if Harris was trying to undermine Snowden or not.
Either way, I am happy that Citizenfour won the Oscar. The reason is because it draws more attention to the film. Hopefully more people will see it and recognize the crimes of the NSA and heroism of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald.