Posted by anonymouse on:
"I believe that a guarantee of public access to government information is indispensable in the long run for any democratic society.... if officials make public only what they want citizens to know, then publicity becomes a sham and accountability meaningless." Sissela Bok
I am reading an amazing and important book by Sissela Bok,
Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life
Sissela Bok is a philosopher and ethicist. Robert K. Fullwinder says of Bok and this book,
"...Lying remains in print today, nearly thirty years after its initial publication, and is widely used in the classroom. Its continuing broad readership pays tribute to the book’s lucidity and good sense. Bok's work has no peer as a serious treatment of a central, but neglected, dimension of moral life."
Ms. Bok covers every sort of lie and the justifications or excuses for all of them, from lies told to protect individuals and children to lies told to oneself in justification for a lie one wants to tell. In the chapter, "Lies for the Public Good" she says,
"Rulers, both temporal and spiritual, have seen their deceits in the benign light of such social purposes. The have propagated and maintained myths, played on the gullibility of the ignorant, and sought stability in shared beliefs. They have seen themselves as high-minded and well-bred - whether by birth or by training - and as superior to those they deceive. Some claim that those who govern have a right to lie. (Arthur Sylvester, "The Government Has the Right to Lie," Saturday Evening Post, 18 November 1967, p.10) The powerful tell lies believing that they have greater than ordinary understanding of what is at stake; very often they regard their dupes as having inadequate judgement or as likely to respond in the wrong way to truthful information." (Sissela Bok, Lying, p. 167)
The Brown Act was an act of the California State Legislature, authored by Assemblymember Ralph M. Brown and passed in 1953 that guaranteed the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies.
James Madison, in 1832 said, "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both."
I am just a mouse, but I think the public has a right to hear all discussions pertaining to their governance. We need to know, humans and mice alike, who is governing us, their processes for deciding things that involve us all, whether motivations are ideological or pragmatic. To meet in private for these discussions is a detriment to the concept of democracy.
This means you Dale Francisco, Michael Self, Frank Hotchkiss and Randy Rowse!!