"Interviewer: Why do you do what you do?
Aaron Swartz: It's a good question. I mean, I feel very strongly that it's not enough to just live in the world as it is, to just kind of take what you're given and, you know, follow the things that adults told you to do and that your parents told to do and society tells you to do. I think you should always be questioning. I take this very scientific attitude that everything you've learned is just provisional, that ti's always open to recantation or refutation or questioning. And I think the same applies to society. I felt growing up I slowly had this process of realizing that all the things around me that people have told me were just the natural way things were, the way things always would be, they weren't natural at all. They were things that could be changed, and they were things that, more importantly, were wrong and should change. And once I realized that there was really kind of no going back. I couldn't fool myself into saying 'Oh, I'm just going to work for a business and ignore all that.' Once I realized that there were real, serious problems, fundamental problems that I could do something to address, I didn't see a way to forget that. I didn't see a way not to." [1:45 - 2:50 in the video below].
Aaron Swartz had a heroic heart, a rebellious spirit, a compassionate nature, a searching eye, and a big brain, and the U.S. government wanted to break him because he had these outstanding qualities along with real convictions. This is a government that treats the bravest and brightest activists worse than terrorists and criminals.
Video: Aaron Swartz Progressive Change Campaign Commitee Founder - SpunOut.ie Interviews (January 2010).