Daily Archives: June 12, 2006

Arguing in the public square

Robert Scoble, noted Microsoft blogger, is leaving for a new job.  While at Microsoft, he pushed the traditional envelope by publicly discussing and sometimes dismissing company strategies and actions using his blog.

When asked how he was able to "get away" with public criticizing his company, Scoble replied:

Chairman Bill Gates "loves arguing out ideas."

"He knows that an idea can change the world. How are you going to get the best ideas from 60,000 people? Let an idea get out in the public square, and let people talk about it," Scoble said in a telephone interview Sunday from San Francisco, where he and PodTech executives were planning to attend a video blogging conference.

So, why don't we encourage public employees to do the same?  Afterall, Madison noted :

"Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power and to withhold from them information, without which power is abused. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both."
—James Madison

So, tell me.  Why not?  Do the latest rulings on whistleblower protections, and  the limits thereof throw cold water on Madison's statement?  Why is it harder to get information today, with all of the technology enabling distribution of same available to anyone who can walk into a public library?  If self-reliance is truly the bedrock of a conservative Republic, then is not the fundamental purpose of that Republic to be focused on providing the public the very informationt they need to govern themselves?

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