Sorry, Cletus, “open government” is closed to you

Amid the celebration of the President’s as-yet-unproven open government initiative this week came the concept of a tool for government to “elicit expert citizen participation.” From TechPresident:

Rather than throwing the doors open to public participation, the wisdom here is that crowdsourcing platforms can be targeted and nuanced enough to extract very high quality input from a select group of people.

If the “ExpertNet” program actually happens (it’s still in the early development stages), it would strike a bit of a blow against the concept of open government.  Though it could expand participation for certain citizens, the message to most people seems to be to keep your mouths shut and let the smart people take care of the country.

But, like any communication from the voters  that finds its way to a government agency, much depends on the person opening the mail.  So even if all citizens are allowed to participate, the pencil-pusher will separate the grain from the chaff.  At the risk of sounding cynical, bureaucrats (whether left or right) will consider the opinions they agree with to be more “expert.”

As for the other side… why would anyone need to hear from those slack-jawed yokels?

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