Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Secrecy begets tyranny."

The title of this post quotes Robert A. Heinlein's book Stranger in a Strange Land. I think this quote is more relevant than we, as citizens, seem to think these days. Recently,the Department of Homeland Security issued a policy allowing them to make certain meetings private. The idea that the government wants to have meetings about policy in private scares me, especially when the meetings involve issues of homeland security. The actions of this particular committee are in flagrant disregard for existing laws that require such meetings to be public. Moreover, this kind of agency action is the least democratic. It seems more and more that the powers in the government attempt to subvert the democratic process to perpetrate violations of some of the most fundamental civil liberties, especially since elected officials swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Its not just the freedom of information that is coming under attack these days, but the freedom to speak and criticize. Common Cause is reporting a story about an FBI investigation of the League of Women Voters after a panel discussion criticizing the Patriot Act (linked from What's worse is the policy buttressing these actions. Its nice to know that the Patriot Act gives the FBI carte blanche to investigate those who are critical of governmental policies. Some of the aspects of this policy make it seem like the FBI can operate like secret police. This can't be what our democracy stands for. I understand the concerns, but preventing "acts of terror" should not require governmental deleterious policies that impinge upon the libertarian principles providing the foundation of our democracy. You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." American Democracy should err on the side of freedom.

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