Thursday, July 22, 2010

my opinion about the the transparency of government's work

Government Day is not very attractive to me, but i am really interested in the native American's idea about" whether the government should open all information to the society". Well, answers vary from individual to individual. Actually, politics is really a complex issue and we can hardly make conclusion without a comprehensive consideration. Well, i will tell something about my opinion about this question.
To begin with, there is no denying that the government should withhold some information about the official secrets and military secrets. Fully disclosing to the public these types of information would pose a threat to the public safety and even national security. Hence, it is inculpable for the government to withhold information in that the government takes the responsibility for the stability of the whole society and the welfare of the general public in the long term. For example, if the government discloses the strategies for impeding specific plans of a terrorist movement, it may stimulate the mass hysteria. What's worse, those strategies would be doomed to fail and the public's safety would be compromised.
By contrast, in some other cases, the government should increase the transparency of their work and guarantee public's rights to know. First consider the information about public crisis, such as epidemic, economic collapse, criminal gangs and so forth. If the government withholds this information, it may damage the public interests and even lead to heavy casualties. For example, if the Mexican government withheld the H5N1 epidemic, the whole world would have suffered from more serious infection spread. Next consider the information about the leader's principals and objectives. In a democratic society, a leader is elected by people and an effective leadership bases on the support of the general public. So the public have the right to know the motives and agenda of the leader and the leader should not rely on secrecy or even deception to maintain his or her leadership. Otherwise, the leader may ultimately lose the support from the would-be followers and drop the reins of government. Such paragons as Nixon come immediately to mind. His tactful performance successfully misled the most American people and won the presidential election. However, the truth could never be covered and ultimately he forfeited his power.
However, in reality, the political issue is so complicated that whether the information should be withheld is hard to decide. Particularly with respect to information which is beyond prediction and human control, the government may come into a dilemma. An apt example about earthquake can underscore this point. The seismological bureau predicts an earthquake in a certain region in a period of time. However, in fact, no country can accurately forecast the accurate time and place of an earthquake. If the government publishes the alert, the productivity and regular life of the people may be hindered while the earthquake may not happen in a long period. But if the government withholds the information, it will cause enormous casualties if the earthquake actually happens. Therefore, whether the information should be open requires all-side consideration. The political leader should strike a balance among competing interests and weigh the advantages and disadvantages and then make choice.
At last, I have to point out that though the game of politics requires disingenuousness and dishonesty in some cases, these certain cases can never be overextended and a leader can not deceive the public for his or her personal interests in guise of nation security. The core spirit of democracy is rooted in guarantee the public right to know the operation of the government and any leader who is blind to this point surely results in forfeiture of his or her leadership.


mikelohre said...

Sophy, I like how you always give some evidence or an example for your ideas. You use terrorism, the flu epidemic, NIxon, etc, as you give your insights. Nice work.

Yep. The idea of the artful lie or disinformation or misdirection in giving information is a big part of politics. Your post makes me think how important it is for Americans to have a free press, and to have journalists who are willing to dig for the truth. The first thing an oppressor must do is suppress the truth, and usually that means they try to keep the journalists from doing their job. In Mexico right now, the drug cartels are making many journalists live in fear, and have actually killed many who try to expose them. That's so scary.

Freedom of information is a huge issue between our countries, and for every country in this Internet age. We see the conflicts with Google, etc. Really important to think about all this. Thanks.

Pete said...

I was waiting for this blog post. I spent some time talking to Sophy about this topic and I noticed her talking to others. I think it's very impressive that she decided to hear a variety of opinions before working through what she thought on the issue.

I'd amplify my earlier comments: that national security and terrorism are poor reasons for secrecy in the U.S. In fact, the way to insure national security or the defeat of terrorism is thorough and public transparency. The way that Al Qaeda convinces people that the U.S. is a threat is by citing a long history of U.S. clandestine interference and secrecy.
Transparency is like shaking hands--what you're doing is showing trust and friendship by demonstrating that you're unarmed. If the U.S. consistently shows the world it has nothing to fear from us, the U.S. will have nothing to fear in the world.

Great post--thanks Sophy.