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Re: Anonymous Corollary...

   Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1993 14:08:05 -0500
   From: Peter Wayner <[email protected]>

   The point: the government has a relentless desire to document
   and assign accountability for everything. It's bred in their
   bones. Even the President can avoid it. 

There is an interesting quote reportedly made by Stephen Wolfe, head of
the NSF, when someone was amazed about the incredible inefficiency of
some of the government purchasing procedures ---- ``The people don't
want efficient goverment; they want an accountable government --- and
there's a difference.''

Given the distrust voiced by many people when Dr. Demming's proposal was
brought forth, anonymity is probably a bad thing when it comes to
goverment officials performing official actions in the line of duty.
Given how petty, vicious, and evil (tm) government bureaucrats are(*), it's
probably a good thing that they have to be held strictly accountable for
everything they do, and for all of that to be documented.  Would you
like to give all sorts of powers to the likes of Ollie North, and then
give them license to work anonymously?

Now, this line of reasoning only applies to government officials ---
what standards should apply to private citizens are of course completely
different.  In the case of Hillary's Health Care Committee, it isn't
clear whether or not the names listed were merely private citizens
giving "testimony" or "evidence" to feed into the process as input, or
whether they're people who are making policy decisions.  If they're
people making policy decisions, even if they are not officially
governmente employees, the Wall Street Journal's decision to publish
their names is emminently justifiable.  The last thing a democracy needs
is a secret cabal making all the decisions in a back room.

						- Ted

(*) or at least how evil(tm) it is widely believed them to be....