Anonymous, WikiLeaks and The Matrix Generation
Throughout history, each new generation has questioned and rebelled against what had come before. Generations X and Y grew up with the dot-com bubble and ubiquitous digital technology. This group of teens and young adults today has largely been viewed as tamed, apathetic, and glued to their screens. Yet, now the little known underground subculture of hackers that was brought to worldwide attention by WikiLeaks seems to call for a shift in this view. Here arose a pocket of passionate activists united through sharing ideas beyond cultural and geopolitical boundaries in the spirit of the open source principles. This has brought fire to a public contaminated by cynicism. Perhaps this generation is following the age-old tradition of youthful idealism rebelling against the inequities of the established order after all.
Each age has had a literary imagination that guided it. There was the Tolkien masterpiece, Lord of the Rings and then Star Trek. Now, The Matrix has become a central story of this generation. What is emerging now is the Matrix Generation.
In an article called Generation W: WikiLeaks Ignites a New Generation of Hacktivists, Urizenus Sklar (Jan 4, 2011) described how the challenges of this age have ignited a new generation of hacktivists that is indicative of an emerging worldwide culture of dissent among the younger generation. He characterizes this as reacting to the governmental abuses of the George W. Bush era. But, in reality the current malaise goes much deeper than a particular regime, as an ever evolving cancer of corruption and abuse of power has been emanating from Washington for some time and has become pervasive as a corporate and government model all over the world. People are now starting to confront in a more widespread fashion the systemic moral corruption that has been building and WikiLeaks has catalyzed and empowered this backlash ...