Open Government is a Value that Liberals and Conservatives Share

December 01, 2013

Some excerpts from today’s Hartford Courant starting with their editorial:

The panel is stacked with officials indifferent if not hostile to the freedom of information ethic. Any compromise they might negotiate with the minority FOI advocates on the task force could not help but give too much away to those most comfortable with letting government operate behind closed doors.

Colin McEnroe:

Wednesday brought a meeting of the Freedom of Information task force, whose very existence and composition is an attack on open government and whose current dialogue amounts to: “Which of your existing rights would you prefer to surrender?” The answer “none” appears to be off the table.

And finally Kevin Rennie:

The Danbury prosecutor’s taste for secrecy contains other dangers. It emboldens the nasty loons who arise after every public tragedy to give voice to denials that the event ever happened. Governments that disdain public access laws feed rampant suspicion and countenance lawlessness.

Privacy and open government are two areas where liberals and conservatives can come together because they are values that both share. The questions are not always easy, but this is not a case of the government peering into your bedroom or sharing private facts about individuals with the public. There is strong precedent for releasing the kind of information the Courant is seeking, and I have seen little evidence to suggest it has caused trouble in the past. When tragedies happen the only thing we can do is grieve and learn from them. It would be a shame if we were denied the ability to do even that.

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