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Daily Bread for 4.20.22: A Suspicious Local Dialect of Opportunistic Demands for Open Government

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 48.  Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:43 PM for 13h 39m 59s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 82.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Involvement & Cable TV Commission meets at 5:00 PM and the Park and Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1898,  President McKinley signs a joint resolution to Congress for a declaration of war against Spain, beginning the Spanish–American War.


Monday’s and Tuesday’s posts addressed challenges to open government (how populists use open-government principles to advance selfish, particular ends and four general reasons people oppose open government. See respectively The Opportunistic Use of Open-Government Principles and Four Reasons People Oppose Open Government).

Monday’s post, considering populist opportunism in Texas, can be understood in its own suspiciously opportunistic local dialect. Here’s now that translation into a local context would unfold (with highlighting as the translation progresses):

Original language: Populists use open-government principles to advance selfish, particular ends.

Initial translation: Special interests use open-government principles to advance selfish, particular ends.

Refinement: Landlords, bankers, and PR men use open-government principles to advance selfish, particular ends.

It’s possible that a speaker will be misunderstood, and his or her pure intentions may merely seem opportunistic.

And yet, and yet, it’s hard to credit a special interest with general concerns. (After all, by definition they have, well, a special, particular interest.) A business lobby or a trade association is by nature a business lobby or a trade association. It doesn’t stop being a particular interest merely because its members claim a universal interest. (If they’re true to their membership, then they will not have a universal interest, as that’s not what their particular members should reasonably expect. Those who join Audubon sensibly expect advocacy of birding, not universal harmony, however important universal harmony would be.)

It rouses skepticism that landlords, bankers, and PR men insist on open government now but were less vocal about openness when they played a more prominent role on public boards.

And while there is skepticism about these types, a similar public skepticism attaches to their office-holding allies. The development men can and will help someone get into office, but it comes with a question: are these officeholders truly their own men and women, or are they the catspaws of a narrow special interest group?

Those who lose a reputation as independent men and women are unlikely to get that reputation back without heroic efforts.

It’s noticeable how often people in Whitewater cringe when these landlords, bankers, and PR men walk into a room. How unfortunate it is that these types would engender so much concern in a small town of free and equal people.

A serious man or woman would know that it’s incomparably worse, for example, to find oneself in a gloomy wood, one’s way blocked by a leopard, lion, or wolf. That, unquestionably, would be a dire situation.

Knowing as much, one would worry hardly at all about a few entitled business lobbyists.

A commitment to open government deserves, and is best served by, support from independent advocates. There is much to be done, and done sincerely and consistently.


Sheep Gets Over 80 Pounds of Wool Removed:

A 7-year-old sheep named Alex who was rescued after being found on top of a mountain in Victoria, Australia, last month just got a well-deserved shave. Handlers removed approx 80+ pounds of wool from Alex’s fleece—nearly a world record for a single sheep shaving.

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[…] Wednesday: A Suspicious Local Dialect of Opportunistic Demands for Open Government (‘It rouses skepticism that landlords, bankers, and PR men insist on open government now but […]