Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 Mercury Conspiracy Theory



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AT: Government Lies Bad


All non- unique, they have faked the space program before
And government secrets aren’t all bad-safety reasons, public scrutiny and more

Feldman, law teacher at Harvard University and part of Council of Foreign Relations, 09

[Noah, law teacher at Harvard University and part of Council of Foreign Relations, The New York Times, “In Defense of Secrecy” 2/10/2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15wwln_lede-t.html, accessed 6/27/11, HK]



On the surface, it might seem that more and better information about the government’s decisions (and decision-making processes) is always preferable, especially if the information is provided before events transpire. As good-government advocates are right to remind us, if the public learns of an important decision only after it has been made, advocacy groups and concerned citizens cannot influence it. They can only give their endorsement or disapproval after the fact and hope it has some effect the next time around. When it comes to the proposal and drafting of legislation, we expect public engagement, even as we acknowledge that special-interest groups can use that process to torpedo innovative laws in the way the insurance industry brought down health care reform during President Clinton’s first term. Yet there are many circumstances in which secrets are critical. Consider the quotidian business of government inspection: it requires the element of surprise, or else regulated industries could game the system by preparing for oversight on specified days and places. A grander example comes from diplomacy. Whether to negotiate with Iran is an important topic of debate, but the actual negotiation, and even the steps leading up to it, cannot successfully be conducted under the glare of public scrutiny. Neither side would take the risks necessary for real engagement as long as its high-risk efforts could be exposed to denunciation and ridicule if it failed. The financial bailout has its own needs for secrecy. It is essential for Congress to debate what sorts of industries or companies should be saved and how, and it must authorize the money, just as it must pay for a war. But the decisions to bail out AIG and to let Lehman Brothers fail, whatever their merits, were the sorts of immediate, crisis-driven judgment calls that could not have reasonably been subjected to extensive public debate, or that would have been improved by public lobbying and interest-group advocacy. If specific companies could lobby for bailouts, and their competitors could argue against, the bailouts would turn into political football — which is what arguably distorted the effort to bail out the auto companies. Obama presumably knows all this; his pronouncements about transparency so far have been so general as to be largely symbolic. That he issued a statement urging his subordinates to “increase and improve opportunities for public participation in government” without providing any specifics suggests that he wants to change the background tone of government — but also that he recognizes the limits of transparency.



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