Friday, 9 January 2009

Anectodes and observations

Accountability?           "Ideally the UN, foreshadowing a future world government, ought to be run by a global meritocracy -- rule by the best.  In practice, it is the opposite. Any state that can be legally defined as one can join the UN -- it is a club having no rules of probity or morals. …  The result is failure and graft.  UN officials are not answerable to bodies like Congress or the U.K.'s Parliament, which would be sure to track down, expose and punish gross abuses and manifest failures.  No senior UN official has ever gone to jail.  It's rare for anyone to be sacked or removed.  The top brass resist any kind of investigation, on principle.  The oil-for-food inquiry is unique in that it has taken place at all and seems to be garnering results.  But will any punishment be meted out?  Will any serious reforms be pushed through?  Of course not. …"

Paul Johnson, "The UN is for talk, not actions," Forbes (US), March 14, 2005.



Accountability’s importance, then and now        “[A free people has] an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge,  I mean, of the character and conduct of its rulers.”

                                    John Adams, second American president, 1797-1801


“Adams had in mind the ministers of the British crown in the reign of King George III, and presumably he knew that the knowledge  in question was interactive, moving mostly in the direction of the man being discovered as a thief but also toward the man afraid of finding out that he’s been robbed.”

                                                Lewis Lapham, “Uncle Sam”, Harpers’ Magazine (US), January 2007, pp. 7-9.

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