Fighting for Knowledge

A new site called Government Information Awareness set up by the good folks at MIT’s Media Lab may very well provide more access for regular citizens with time on their hands to keep tabs on government (HT: Instapundit). But the key variable here should be remembered: this site will only help those intelligent people with enough time on their hands to track legislation. This might just start a revolution in accountability.
Or, in the more likely scenario, while the site certainly is impressive, it will only serve to deepen the power interests groups have over government.
In paraphrasing Fareed Zakaria’s new book, The Future of Freedom–something I do often since it is truly an amazing work–the problems facing our democracy do not stem from the lack of access, but from the overload of information that regular citizens do not have the time to sift through, while interests groups and their lobbies do.
Let’s be realistic: how many people will take time out of their days to track legislation? And those individuals who do, how many of them have either the background information to process it, or the resources to affect it? No, this site will only provide more munitions to interest groups and pass the buck of accountability from within the system of checks and balances to the degree with which interest groups will be able to generate public opinion for their position.
My next column in the Spectator addresses this very problem from the WMD angle, so I will have to delay this argument until it is published.


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