Aaron Swartz hacked our culture, and you should be grateful
In the link you’ll find a generalized write-up about the Internet activist Aaron Swartz. What you won’t find is what I’ll say here.
Swartz was more than an activist and brilliant programmer. He was someone who acted on what he felt was important rather than simply blogging about the importance of it.
In some ways, the fact that he sneaked a computer into MIT to get at documents he considered in the public domain was as Robin Hood as you can get. While the rest of us lament our losses of freedom by complaining to the Twitterverse or the blogosphere, Swartz used his incredible intellect and mad programming skills to ensure Americans could access that which they have the right to access.
He wasn’t merely an advocate or a voice, he was an activist in the true sense of the words. He put himself at considerable risk to fight something that is as purely righteous as you can get in the sense that he freed that which should never have been behind a paywall in the first place and made available that which our Constitution already guarantees us the right to.
I think the thing that impressed me most about his life was his conviction and how much it reveals about my propensity to play it safe.
More than desiring to have my life written up as Swartz’ has been today, I want to emulate his action in providing access to information.
There are few heroes around today. Swartz was one.
"THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE, AND AFTERWARD, SOME ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES." – HEMINGWAY