Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Frustratingly Opaque Body

From Congress Makes A Bold Move (Or Doesn't) by Dan Fejes:

Congress can be a frustratingly opaque body, and trying to figure out causes and effects can be largely futile. Analyzing a simple proposition like “Congress has failed to adequately check executive power expansion since 2001” quickly becomes incredibly complex (rest in peace Edward Lorenz). Also, much of its work is done behind closed doors, which is probably for the best. If politicians were constantly on display before the public we would reach toxic levels of grandstanding almost immediately and government would grind to a halt (though in light of our recent experience that might be a benefit). The unknowable line between discretion and deception seems to get crossed fairly regularly, though, and those who come out ahead from working in the shadows are eager to blur it as much as possible. One of the great journalistic self-indictments of our times - right up there with “I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right” - is this:
This is not an entirely trivial matter since government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.
I won’t presume to speak for your sex life, dear reader, but I think it’s safe to say you probably have not benefited from politics or real estate being practiced with the lights off. More to the point, media elites view politics as a dark art. They prefer for a small group to work in private and emerge from behind the curtain with a finished product. Their proximity and access to those magicians then turns them into information gatekeepers for the masses and confers enormous power on them. From their perspective, what’s not to like?

1 comments - Post a comment :

danps said...

Thanks for the love (and the correction - contrubutors indeed.)

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