Ignorance is not bliss
Stephen Harper’s thesis at graduate school, would explain Harper’s determination this way, according to the Globe: “I would agree with this (Harper’s) census decision from a libertarian point of view. People like me look on this as the thin edge of the wedge, sort of ‘Big Brother’s around the corner,’ if you’re forcing people to reveal knowledge even though the knowledge isn’t going to be attached to them.”
Libertarians believe that the best government is the least government possible.
I don’t know about you, but when a politician seeks my vote saying, “vote for me and I will do as little as possible,” I find myself scratching my head.
Ignorance is not bliss. The more information a government has in their possession when formulating policy the better. That doesn’t guarantee good policy, but a lack of information pretty well guarantees bad policy.
That occurred to me again a few days ago when the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board released an explanation of how they would deal with a possible spill at their drill site in the Orphan Basin. It will be the deepest offshore oil well in Canadian history. The BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is an entire kilometre shallower, and we all know what happened there. Not surprisingly, the public wants as much detail as they can get about the possible danger on our doorstep.
Apparently, not sensing the public mood at all, the C-NLOPB blacked out the information about what direction they calculated any spilled oil might drift. To initial questions of why they’d done that, the C-NLOPB pleaded corporate secrecy, their spokesperson stating that the public had no right to know, indeed the fact that they were being informed at all was a “privilege”.
Once she had opened her ears and removed the foot from her mouth, the spokesperson released the entire report with nothing blacked out. It only took two days.
We don’t need either corporate leaders or politicians telling us what is or is not acceptable for us to know. It’s just delaying the inevitable. Knowledge is power. What we need is a more, not less-informed public, with a sense of engagement and the power to make their voices heard in the society we all share.