Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Transparency Illusion


By Bill Kraus

One of the precepts underlying our democracy is that those who run the place will be accountable to an informed electorate.

This is not holding up well.

More and more, those who run the place do not share the information about what they are doing and why as freely as expected. Those in power quickly learn that information is power and tend to hold onto it for that reason alone.

Worse yet the electorate is less and less interested in how the place is run and has become addicted to outsourcing. Outsourcing is a synonym for “not interested.”

Added to these weaknesses is the fact that the undesirable side effect of the awesome internet is that it took away the advertisers who provided most of the money needed to pay for a wide ranging, well staffed, news-gathering system that reported fully, even fairly in most cases, on who is running the place and how.

The informed electorate is more and more uninformed.

This disturbing conclusion can be validated by asking questions.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rule of three


By Bill Kraus

There are at least three categories of anarchists at work in the halls of state capitols and in Washington, maybe more.

The most extreme and smallest are the pure anarchists. Their goal is to have governments simply go away. A surprising advocate of this idea was Karl Marx, who is best known as the founder of what we call communism. His theory was that full public ownership of everything would eliminate the need for a ruling body known as government. He allowed as how the route to this utopian objective would have to go through totalitarianism which would eradicate private property. As we all know, no one has gotten through this transitory phase, and now pure anarchy is in the hands of people on the other side of the spectrum. They are not making a lot of noise about where they want to go. They are not making a lot of progress either. What they are making is a lot of trouble.

In a recent column about the rocky road to immigration reform, the NY Times's David Brooks pointed out that those who oppose it will destroy the Republicans' chances of ever coming back into power. Pure anarchists don’t care. In their world all avenues to power, including the parties, are expendable.

Monday, July 8, 2013

And not as I do


By Bill Kraus

President Obama on a recent visit to Tanzania complimented that country on its move toward democracy but added an admonition that indicated they had not completed the job. He told them that they would not have a true democracy until “everyone feels their government is truly responsive and their voices are being heard.”

Like ours?


This may just be the manifestation of the great U.S. conceit of giving advice to others which implies we are doing in our country what we are telling them to do in theirs.

There are, of course, organizations mostly and a few people in this country who think those running our “democracy” are responsive and that their voices are being heard. I do not happen to be one of them.

But I am not a member of the National Rifle Association or the Catholic Church or any organization that wants to turn this country into a gated community.