There are ways for people to be activists for a cause.
One way is to work within the system. Lawyers like Gura, or people like Gottlieb. This way risks little from a personal standpoint, but for a select few, they actually accomplish quite a bit.
Another is to engage in civil disobedience and put yourself out there in personal peril to be imprisoned or worse in order to change others. You do this by violating the law and showing defiance. People who have done this include Ghandi, Dr Martin Luther King, and others.
Yet another way is to undermine the law by refusing to obey. This is how many people in nations undermine the law. The quietly ignore the law, and once a critical mass is reached, the law becomes useless and changes. The 55 MPH speed limit is a good example of this. So are the people who have distributed the Liberator files on anonymous sites and torrents.
Then there are the people who are doing nothing for advancing the cause, and are simply engaged in an attempt to garner fame for themselves. They loudly proclaim themselves to be engaged in civil disobedience, get the spotlight focused on themselves, and before any serious consequences can befall them, they fold their tent and scurry away. They then spend a large amount of time patting themselves on the back, and demanding that others recognize the so-called huge ‘risk’ they took in doing absolutely nothing. They are doing nothing for the CAUSE, they are doing this for THEMSELVES and their over sized egos.
Look, the penalty for violating ITAR is a million bucks plus twenty years in prison. I GET it if you aren’t willing to risk that. I know I’m not, but that is no excuse to run around and brag about how much you did and how much of a risk you took. That does nothing but pull the focus away from the problem and place it on you. That is why I criticize people for this.
The people who put the Liberator files on sites like Pirate Bay, or torrents? They have my respect. They are engaged in actually undermining the law without worrying about personal accolades.