Freedom Requires Whistleblowers: The Importance of Transparency

Are you concerned about the activities government agencies are engaging in? Does it bother you to think the government is spying on you? If not, what reason do you have to be complacent? Professor James Otteson says we may feel secure today because we know we haven’t done anything wrong. But this is short-sighted.

The powers we give to the people in office today will transfer to the people who are elected tomorrow. Maybe you trust, support, or voted for the current president. But what if the next president were someone you couldn’t agree with? Would you still want that leader to have the same powers?

The government should have to get permission from citizens for everything it does, not the other way around. The government must be accountable to citizens, transparent, and unable to act in ways the citizenry would not condone. This is why we need whistleblowers. We need people to take a stand and point out when the government in not acting in the people’s interest. We need the government to answer to us.


  1. MH24

    There’s this idea that having ‘nothing to hide’ makes this kind of surveillance ok. If we have absolutely nothing to hide, why do we have passwords and private diaries or journals? why do we cherish time that we can keep to ourselves? Why do we not share our life story with any random person on the street? The truth is that we like privacy and have personal reasons for keeping it.

  2. Matt Wavle

    If you ask most people today, they have it all backwards.  They will tell you that we must be accountable to the State and will look at you like you have two heads when you explain that the State is to be accountable to the people.  

    This is a very important distinction between freedom and tyranny.
  3. Razorboi

    I think one of the issues with government officials and such over stepping their bounds and trampling on rights protected by the Constitution, is the fact that, the Constitution does not outline punishment for officials who violate people’s rights or who vote for anti constitutional laws

  4. mikeknightofdawn

    People in power will consistently fail to live up to the high expectations of their admirers, especially when people willingly give up their sovereignty for the sake of a little bit of ‘security.’

  5. mikeknightofdawn

    You are all too correct, in working with computer forensic analysts, I’ve come into the knowledge that at any time just from normal day-to-day web searching, trace amounts of files flagged as child pornography are embedded within several sites, even some of the most benign sites.

    As you said, they will find anything. With several thousands of federal offenses on the books now, it is only a matter of desire whether or not you could be jailed for something, based on making political enemies.

  6. qazz42

    Ah, the old nothing to hide nothing to fear. Terrible argument and I’m shocked it is still used by people to this day.

  7. taschrant

    Didn’t ol’ Ben Franklin warn that those who decide to sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither?

  8. sid1138

    Here’s irony for you. The government has not problem looking into your dirty laundry. But, as soon as someone tries to air the governments stinking secrets, it whines and complains unbelievably.

    It’s never fun getting caught doing something you shouldn’t. I like how the government tries to hide its misdeeds under weird titles like national security. It is the government we need to be secure against.

  9. Matt Wavle

    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

    —  Time to take back the rights of the master and stop living as slaves to our should-be-servants.
  10. Anonymous

    Interesting idea.
    I would say that the problem comes where there is more than one or two people doing the trampling. With enough people doing it, there will also be enough friends to mitigate any consequences to those who get caught.

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