It seems to me, to argue national defense is sufficient cause for a secret, is to argue suicide is necessary for cancer prevention. After all, there is not one secret the US or any other government has, that is not known by other governments, so in reality, when government classifies something secret, they are merely keeping it from citizens, not foreign governments, so, to claim a thing needs to be secret for national security is absurd. The only people who are unable to know what our governments are doing are the people themselves. Look at the “secrets” wikileaks has released, none of them put a single American in jeopardy, the only things threatened are the elite’s machinations. Snowden’s release of information shows how our government violates our Constitution and that is why he is under indictment. In a limited republic that guarantees liberty for it’s citizens, everything government does would be available for any citizen to see. The only thing that grows in darkness is corruption and we have more than a sufficient supply of that.
If government only did what it is supposed to, protect people and property from those who would abuse or abscond, is the only legitimate role of government…. In other words, the police and army. Other things that can be argued are right roles of government are, printing money, building roads and infrastructure, settling disputes between citizens, setting standards and defining governmental boarders. These other roles however, have often been done by citizens themselves, usually better and cheaper. When government sticks to it’s legitimate role it need not maintain thousands of bureaucrats administering government. The more illegitimate roles government takes up… the more things it decides need to be secret. It is the pervasive and ever growing secret state that is a sign that government has breached it’s banks and is flooding the country with red tape and taxes.
When government takes on clearly illegitimate roles like “helping” American industry, the need for secrets grows. As our government gets in bed with tyrants the need for secrets grows, the more illegal activities our government engages in, the more they need to keep secrets, the more powerful government grows the more need for secrets, the more controlling it becomes the more it needs its secrets and the more government monitors the people the more it needs to hide what it is doing. All from the people, not other governments, who have spies to insure they know all there is to know about our government’s secrets, but the citizens whom the government is supposed to serve live in darkness. So the people government is keeping secrets from are the people themselves.
Why keep secrets from citizens? Because government knows what it is doing is wrong. Instead of protecting people’s Rights, lives and property, government has become the biggest threat to our lives, Rights and property. The modern government has as it’s core philosophy, everything within it’s boundaries are the government’s property, the land, houses, cars, factories, and even the people themselves. That which we are allowed to keep is out of government’s beneficence. This is made clear whenever taxes are brought up. The argument is based on the premise all income belongs to government. When that is your mindset, you have to keep it secret from the people you consider your slaves, else they might get uppity.
Of course there will always need to be spies. They are an arm of the army and as such help government meet it’s core role of protecting the people. The amount of secrets however exceeds mere spy craft by orders of magnitude. Plus, why keep the findings of spies on our enemies, secret? Shaming enemy nations should be a legitimate role of spies. Sadly, governments are far more concerned about spying on their own citizens than on potential invading armies. The need for secrets is a sure sign government is grown beyond it’s legitimate role. Everything government does should be freely available to any citizen that asks for it. The Freedom of Information act is a first step but falls short. Every legislators office should have a camera and microphone installed that stream to the internet, the President’s office should be monitored the same way, judges chambers should be recorded and the recording released to the public the day that judge casts his or her decision. Every trade deal should be open to anyone to see, every regulation should be read by the people, every document created by government using tax dollars should be available to the people who paid those taxes, not one aspect of government should be hidden from the people who government is supposed to serve. The more secrets a government has, the more it needs them, because that government is doing something it is not supposed to.