I frequently refer to Ideas Bank in my writings. A most important feature of the concept is “permanence”, in the sense of the word that I will explain shortly
Democracy thrives on education and information. “Education” is meant to foster the human faculty to think critically so that people understand at least “encyclopedically” the issues they encounter on their journey through life. “Information” is “data”, the parameters or factors that converge to compose answers to problems in need for an answer. All this for the determination of options for action and the understanding of the ramifications therefrom.
The information supplied should be adequate to enable the legendary “passenger in the Clapham Omnibus”, Lord Bowen’s “average” citizen, to form a reasonable opinion on the matters at issue.
Power entities, “governments” in particular, tend to wastebasket “ideas” and they do plenty of that with immunity, because they can hide it. This they may do for selfish interests, be it to hide inability to understand what they are wastebasketing or be it to hide their laziness or recklessness. But if they have to conduct themselves in the open, they would endeavour to perform decently.
I will illustrate this with an actual example of world-wide significance, one which occurred in the USA many years ago. It was in the 1950s, I think that the USA Atomic Energy Commission released the news of a breakthrough in some aspect of nuclear energy for peace applications and this figured triumphantly on the front pages of the then numerous newspapers. The next day, the same front pages were plastered with the “news” that “crazy Greek” Nick Christophilos had invented that same thing several years earlier and had communicated it to the Atomic Energy Commission where bureaucrats had recklessly wastebasketed it. President Eisenhower then invited Christophilos to dinner at the White House. And the AEC had to buy Nick’s patent, on top of the heap of money they had wasted to re-invent the thing. That was in addition to the consequences from science delayed for that long.
That is why we the people seek openness in governance and those “in power” fight for their “entitlement” to secrecy. The SNC Lavalin episode at the Ottawa level and the Plecas fiasco in Victoria, are symptoms that pierced through the thick cover of secrecy under which most of the ills that plague our society are “manufactured”. These and countless others big and small that we do not see or imagine, would not happen if the perpetrators had to operate in the open.
Another aspect of the national malaise is the problem of “perseverance”, eloquently enunciated by Churchill. Perseverance is hard to sustain in a highly complex society with the myriad of issues crying out for attention. But the system is lopsided for the reactionaries persevere. Carl Sandburg used the power of poetry to raise awareness of what hidden and overt persuaders do to us. I will quote a line or two from his poem “Brainwashing”:
“Repeat and repeat till they say what you are saying.
Repeat and repeat till they are helpless before your repetitions.
Say it over and over till their brains can hold only what you are saying.”
The advertising industry is very mindful of this and accordingly repetitive. They run their messages through papers, magazines, radio, television, the internet, transit vehicles, game stadiums – there is not medium that they could ignore. And they repeat again and again because they know the power of perseverance. And because they use our resources to brainwash us, because we cannot stop them ...
In the presence of the Ideas Bank, to put it simply, citizens address the message or a copy of a submission to the government, to the Ideas Bank. This will showcase the citizen’s submission for all to see, including the government who would monitor the Ideas Bank. The government’s reaction to the message, be it positive, negative or silence, is also showcased for the populace to see. This is Open Governance, which results in an informed citizenry and would erode if not eliminate the predisposition to recklessness.
In other words, the Ideas Bank is a system for tracking ideas, so they may not be “lost” and eroded the falility for malfeasance. But unlike the “hidden persuaders” who force the message onto the people they target, the ideas Bank takes the high and open road. It makes the message available without imposing on any one. It exposes the ideas to the public, makes the ideas readily available to all who may be looking at the subject matter or who may become interested if they stumble on it. Equally important is that it makes it difficult or impossible for those who may, for any reason, want to suppress ideas and information so as to keep us at a level allowing them to manipulate us.
Do not neglect to suspect the motives of the secret-eries – vigilance is our citizenship duty.