The Big Think

June 18, 2013

Just Watch Me

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:28 am

Citizens and the State: The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think –

“More of what the government does is classified than ever before. If you do not know what the government is doing then, obviously, you have no say over its activities. This flies in the face of the Declaration of Independence, which states that governments derive ‘their just powers from the consent of the governed.’ How can you consent to something you know nothing of?

The principle animating democratic and republican government is accountability to the governed. Yet more and more government action lies beyond the citizens’ reach. As law professor Jonthan Turley explained in a Washington Post piece that appeared before the surveillance leaks, ‘our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch of government, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.’ (Viz., the NSA.)

The ‘vast majority of laws,’ he continues, ‘are not passed by Congress but issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats.’ In 2007, he writes, ‘Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies’ – there are now 69 of them – ‘finalized 2,926 rules.’”

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