Public officials here to serve us

Would you feel comfortable if you had a few hired hands — and maybe a maid, a butler and a gardener — who insisted you had no right to know what they were doing while they worked for you, maybe even locked the doors behind them while around your valuables?

Me neither.

Then why do we allow our servants in government to get away with this same behavior?

When Curry County commissioners decided — against the better judgment of some of its appointed jail and courthouse committee members — to require the committee business be conducted in secret, they demonstrated exactly why the meetings must be open to observation.

If you want to make recommendations that could affect the lives of others or determine how other people’s money will be spent, you have no expectation of privacy in that role. Power without oversight is dangerous.

When you or I want to protect our privacy from government or other meddlesome busybodies, we are told we wouldn’t object if we have nothing to hide. Yet, we are the masters. Being told this by our servants is nonsense.

I realize this committee isn’t exactly “government,” but it isn’t exactly private individuals minding their own business either. Their actions could have governmental repercussions on their neighbors.

Government secrets are the most dangerous and the least justifiable.

Using “security” as an excuse for secrecy doesn’t hold water.

As Ben Franklin noted, security and liberty have a strange relationship. If you spend your precious liberty to purchase security, you will find that the security you thought you were buying was only a photoshopped simulation made to deceive you and get your money.

Protect yourself. Watch the people behind the curtain and don’t let them do anything in secret. Even when it’s a small, local matter.