Official Secrets . . .

The United States of America has a serious problem.  It is functionally psychotic.

I’m talking about how a country can claim to adhere to the ideals of truth, honesty, and integrity, while at the same time empowering anyone to keep secrets from the citizens who vote for the people who are empowered to lead the country.

Logically, there is a very fundamental flaw in such a system.

Every time you authorize a secret to be protected, you must by definition authorize someone to protect that secret from discovery.  The people charged with protecting those secrets do not answer to governments, or any agency within a government.  That is the exact anathema to a democratic republic, which is what the United States Of America is supposed to be.

Here is a logic problem on a global scale.  How can you have a government that is elected by the free will of the citizens who are governed by that government, but empowered to keep secretes from those who elect those who make the decisions of that government?

You can’t.

Whomever you empower to protect a secret is automatically empowered with authority superior to that of any elected official.  They become the gatekeepers to the secret. Their authority is superior to those who were elected, and thus  they are superior to the elected government.

I stumbled upon this line of reasoning because my wife and I recently watched a series of shows on Netflix Streaming called “America’s Book of Secrets”.  The whole series was about the secrets that were being kept from the citizens of the United States by the government that was supposed to be protecting them.

As a caveat, I must admit that nothing in that series actually divulged any national secret.  However, that is part and parcel of the problem.

How can any person, in a society that presumes itself to b e run by the consent of the governed, be capable of making a competent decision about anything if they are not given full access to the facts pertaining to the future of that government?  Every protected secret is a breach of the function of that government.

I can’t speak for the other governments of the world, but if the United States of America still values honesty, integrity, and transparency, then the citizens of the USA need to take action to abolish the notion that ANYTHING can be an official secret.

The Elf on the Shelf

I just read an article on Yahoo News about this phenomenon that started in 2008 with a mom-and-daughter self-published book, titled “The Elf on the Shelf”.  The book is all about how Santa is too busy to watch everyone on his own, so he sends elves out to watch kids and report back on whether they are naughty or nice.  The book even helpfully comes with a little plushy elf that you (as the parent) are supposed to put on shelves, counters, and other areas (move him around to keep the kids convinced that he actually does report back to Santa every night).

There are two GLARING problems, in my humble opinion (IMHO).  The first is that parents spend their children’s entire lives trying to teach the kids to tell the truth – be honest – and the example you’re going to set is to lie to their faces about this Elf?  Brilliant strategy – no wonder kids grow up distrusting their elders and rejecting everything they were ever taught.

The second is a bit more subtle – surveillance.  With all the information in the news today about the privacy abuses of the NSA, and similar governmental organizations around the globe, do you really want your kids to get comfortable with the idea of being spied on by anyone?  That is what the Elf on the Shelf is doing – telling kids that it’s a good thing to be spied upon.

I think the smart money would be on telling kids the truth about Santa and Christmas (which isn’t a Christian holiday – it’s origins are more than a thousand years older than Christianity) – and saying “NO” to the Elf.

If you already have an Elf in your home – stage a “meltdown” in front of your kids and tell off the Elf.  Denounce his spying and general invasions of privacy, and kick him out.