In Our Time

The Great Transparency Racket

“Democracy Dies in Darkness” is the motto of the Washington Post.  The editors of the Post belong to the honorable group of which Norman Podhoretz once confessed himself a member—Idolaters of Democracy.  They idolize Big Government also, that implacable enemy of democracy, or so democrats believed before the 1930’s.  No doubt the editors could demonstrate to their own satisfaction and that of their loyal readers how the two things are really compatible.  They would have a harder job explaining why democratic government is imperiled by the lack of the “transparency” liberals demand in every part of its machinery and every nook and cranny of its being.  To conservatives, always skeptical of governments of inordinate scale, more and evermore transparency should be good news, while for perspicacious liberals it should seem a danger.  Yet for conservatives, who fear anarchy as much as tyranny, the possible paralysis of government functions should be a matter for concern.

Nolite Confidere in Principibus”—“Put Not Your Trust in Princes”—is the motto of The Rockford Institute, the publisher of this magazine.  Chronicles has held as a guiding principle for decades that social and cultural problems do not have political solutions.  Nevertheless, politics can cause social and cultural problems,...

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