The secrets in the chasm between the government and its citizens
Wednesday morning began with Seattle gray here in the Soviet of Washington State but quickly morphed to Puget Sound splendor with the arrival of the Sun. To celebrate the occasion, I added a little Frost (Robert, that is) to my morning coffee. My well-worn volume naturally fell open to "Mending Wall".
There, I read:
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't like a wall,
That wants it down.
Thus springs to mind the issue of the propriety of government secrets — that is, the propriety of walling out the citizenry from the knowledge of some things the government knows and wants to hide from the unwashed.
Naturally, one's view of that issue is colored by one's view of the relationship betwixt the citizen and the government. In my own personal time frame, my perception of that relationship has recently morphed from 2016 (when an FBI knock on the door would have been greeted by an invitation to come in for coffee) to 2022 (when the relationship is grasped as one of predator/prey, as J.B. Shurk nicely illustrated).
Numerous specifics present themselves. I elucidate two.
Image via Max Pixel.
First, consider yesterday's UFO hearing before Congress. Ronald Moultrie, the Department of Defense's undersecretary for intelligence, testifying before the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee. "It is the Department's contention that, by combining appropriately structured collected data with rigorous scientific analysis, any object that we encounter can likely be isolated, characterized, identified, and, if necessary, mitigated," he said, keeping a straight face. Then Moultrie added this caveat against transparency: "Our goal is to strike that delicate balance, one that enables us to maintain the public's trust while preserving those capabilities that are vital to the support of our service personnel."
Now read that caveat with the predator/prey relation in mind, from the point of view that the government is not on our side, and ask what is being walled in and who is being walled out. And for what purpose? Exactly what is it the government doesn't want us to know?
Second, consider the hysteria following the Dobbs's leak. The gravamen of the Alito draft is that Roe had no rationale and was pure willfulness — that is, that the Roe court defrauded the republic. Imagine, then, what would have happened in 1973 if Roe had been leaked and its fraud exposed and mocked from sea to shining sea. Might not Roe have been avoided? Perhaps Roe would not have happened if the public knew from the git-go that the Supreme Court was pulling it out of the air.