Food for thought: Checks and Balances

posted Mar 14, 2002

Here's some food for thought: In our civics classes in the US, we are all taught that one of the key differences of our government is that all three major branches of the government have checks and balances on each other.

While true, this obscures the true point, which is that all three branches of government are accountable to the other two. Accountability is the real key. The genius of 1776 was in the creation of a government where nobody occupied a position where they were not accountable to anyone else.

Note it is not enough to simply be accountable to the nebulous "people"... too easy to get around that.

Consider this in light of many recent political proposals, most of which involving giving more power to unaccountable, or extremely-indirectly-accountable, people. How might this affect the country in the long term? Is it worth it? Is anybody even considering the question? The primary message of The Transpart Society is the observation that accountability goes both ways.

It is unAmerican to increase indefinately the accountability of "the people" to ill-defined governmental entities without a corresponding increase in accountability to the people.

Checks and balances are merely the means through which we fulfill the far more importent primary principle of accountability.

Not quite worth writing a whole essay on, but worth saying.


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