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  • Katherine 8:12 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    I wonder what that sort of ethic or logic might look like? Would we have to get together and vote on an ethic and a logic? 🙂

    • sunny_hughes 8:21 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We, as a nation, engage collectively in other activities without a vote on what our national direction should be (ex: War). We trust our leaders to take us into these situations and use their best judgment. We give them feedback when it is election time. Perhaps the logic behind “reasoned transparency” should be approached the same way. Of course, I’ll acknowledge the paradox in this model… we might not be able to hold our government accountable if they engaged in secret activities (locked box vs. Fish Bowl). My statement is very “off the cuff” but in my own studies of national security documents I know that there is very much an organizational culture in deciding what should be shared with the public.

      • jonippolito 9:13 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        One of the typical arguments made for trusting leaders to make decisions in (say) wartime is that there isn’t always time to decide according to a transparent, democratic process. This perceived necessity for executive decision-making “in a matter of minutes” was only reinforced by the advent of intercontinental technologies such as jets and ICBMs. According to this logic, the president and military leaders need to be able to act independently and swiftly in response to a national threat.

        Elaine Scarry writes a persuasive rebuttal to this argument in her essay “Democracy in Emergency,” which looks at the way the Pentagon was unable to defend itself in the battle of 9/11, but the civilian passengers on United 93 chose to vote before acting to bring down the plane–the only battle of the day that was actually won by American forces.


    • Katherine 8:33 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      yes, I think there is an organizational culture……..

      There are other organizational models (like this speaker is discussing) but I wonder if there is a degree to how well models work depending on organizational size? For example, the town meeting works well in ….a town. Probably not as effective at a level that incorporates many more people. I do think there is LOTS of room for improvement at all levels.

  • Katherine 7:54 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Just a quick observation about gender…..I am interested that the informed citizen is a white man….very Norman Rockwell looking and the sausage makers are factory women

  • Katherine 7:46 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    I am thinking about transparency over time…these are unconnected thoughts in my head right now:
    1. can we read transparency backwards into history?
    2. if accountability and transparency are separate or at lease not synonyms is it possible to be a historian of transpsrency?
    3. can you have a transparent government in an era pre-internet?
    4. thinking back to the keynote…..fish bowl transparency and reasoned transparency…in a post-internet age is reasoned transparency possible.

    • sunny_hughes 8:00 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      @ pre-Internet transparency

      I think that pre-Internet transparency was possible and more importantly was realized. The federal Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1966 and made significant differences in government transparency. That said, it was so much more difficult to go to a FOIA reading room at a government agency. Often, FOIA requests could take months–or even years–to complete. When the Electronic Freedom of Information Act was passed in 1996, it acknowledged how the Internet is like a steroid that enables bigger and faster dumps of government information. I guess my question is how open does government need to be to be considered transparent?

  • Katherine 7:24 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    What was Lincoln’s middle name?

  • Katherine 7:22 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    Yes, we like to have lots of info but I think sometimes we don’t go to the trouble of learning how to interpret, critique and assess data.

    • sunny_hughes 8:11 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I agree. In academia, we often interpret data, but for the average citizen this can prove to be a cumbersome and unrealistic task. We–as a society–rely upon non-profits, academics, journalists and citizen advocates to interpret the information for us. When you think about it, this means that data–perhaps released through reasoned transparency–or maybe through the “fish bowl”–is passed through another level of reasoning before it reaches the people. This further complicates the entire point of open government: To provide the public a checking device for monitoring and evaluating the government they elected.

  • Katherine 7:16 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink  

    This is an interesting point…transparent is a context specific word. The only thing we can all agree on I think is that it is not quantifiable….but there can always be more.

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