ed rosenthal
February 4, 2015

The Fifth Principle of Political Life is Openness: information should be restricted only when necessary for the public interest.  By now, you will have figured out that I am inclined to think that this kind of idealistic statement needs some modification.   Sometimes, the modifications I make are to make sure the Principle is focused on policy and governance.   In this case, another theme of mine is also important - the politician as human being.

In the early sixties,  every reporter in Washington knew that John Kennedy was bringing women into the White House for what used to be described as illicit sexual purposes.  No one reported that he was doing so, because it was not considered germane to the public's business.   By the 1990's, Bill Clinton's single sexual escapade with Monica Lewinsky was not only reported upon, it served as the basis for an impeachment trial.   This was shameful.  (Of course, Kennedy and Clinton's activities were also shameful, but they were none of my business.)

All acts of public policy should be carried out in the open, with ample opportunity for public comment.   Private acts that do not affect the public's interest should remain private.   Prurience is a natural human urge, but it is not a noble one.

A blog about all the arts, including politics
"for 'twere absurd to think that nature in the earth bred gold, perfect in the instant;
there must be remote matter." - Ben Jonson
"I don't know what the question is, but art is the answer." - Guy Conner

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