Silver Circle: Will 2011 Be a Year of Transparency?

I’m optimistic.  Wikileaks is still going strong.  Julian Assange is out of government custody.  The United Nations is set to investigate the conditions of alleged whistle blower, Bradley Manning, and a large swell of support from across the political spectrum is emerging in favor of the right to record one’s interactions with public officials, especially the police. Even more surprisingly, Representative Ron Paul is going to chair the House Sub-Committee on Domestic Monetary Policy.  What is the common theme of all these events? None other but a rational distrust of government secrecy.

Skepticism toward state power waxes and wanes.  Moments like Watergate deeply impact how a generation views the political landscape.  Where citizens might have originally trusted the institutions and most of the people involved, they began to think of them more as corrupt bums.  With more leaks and secrets coming out everyday and more people recording their interactions with the arbiters of state power, those in power will either have to behave themselves better or crack down with an iron fist — and I like to think it’d be the former option.

It is currently mainstream to care about the conditions Bradley Manning is kept in in his Quantico, Virginia cell.  Many people are disgusted by the fact that he is locked in his cell for 23 hours a day during which he can’t exercise and is firmly regimented with his time… the man is not allowed to take a nap!  He must say “yes” every five minutes to guards who do not respond, and if he sleeps and the guards are not able to see him they will wake him.  When he is let out of his cage for his one hour per day to exercise it is only to walk around another room.  No calisthenics are permitted!

He is kept separate from other inmates even though he has not proven to be a threat to them and torture experts have been stating that this sort of isolation is likely to produce long-term psychological trauma for Manning.

Going through this level of treatment for seven months has had to have taken its toll, but now that the UN is investigating it there is hope for some justice for this man to receive due process under law until his trial.  Bringing more attention to these conditions and the lack of due process, as well as the mainstream media’s appalling coverage of the incident could only help the message of liberty.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul has real influence over monetary policy in Congress with his new chairmanship.  This position of prestige will allow him to be heard more widely on the topic and introduce Austrian economics to the larger public. Rather than striking to just end the Fed, he is now aiming to allow for competing currencies to bypass what might be an impossible political battle at the moment, but which should point people in the right direction and allow for many of the positive effects free banking would have.

For all of these reasons and many others, 2012 is looking just fine by me.  More freedom and less government secrecy is on the way!

Original post.  H/t Ross Kenyon.

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