Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Costs of Transparency

This is a question worthy of much discussion: will greater transparency in the media strain the social fabric? The more ugliness our transparent society uncovers, the more we will need to learn to cope. See Andrew Sullivan's review of two new books on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal (see quote below). Brings to mind the most memorable quote from this film. Also brings to mind one of the most popular theories on the causes of depression: the inability of the depressed person to act on his situation.

Prescription: clear thought followed by action.

Andrew Sullivan:

Whatever happened was exposed in a free society; the military itself began the first inquiries. You can now read, in these pages, previously secret memorandums from sources as high as the attorney general all the way down to prisoner testimony to the International Committee of the Red Cross. I confess to finding this transparency both comforting and chilling, like the photographs that kick-started the public's awareness of the affair. Comforting because only a country that is still free would allow such airing of blood-soaked laundry. Chilling because the crimes committed strike so deeply at the core of what a free country is supposed to mean. The scandal of Abu Ghraib is therefore a sign of both freedom's endurance in America and also, in certain dark corners, its demise.

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