"Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice;
nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity."
Lord Acton
[John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton] (1834-1902), First Baron Acton of Aldenham
Letter, 23 January 1861
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- jim      
And there you have it in a nutshell!
 -- Anonymous     
    Consider the financial details of government contracts with private companies that cannot be revealed because of 'commercial confidentiality'.
     -- Josh, Spaxton     
    I am so sorry, but nobody gets my password.
     -- David L Rosenthal      
    Yes, yes, yes - David they probably already have your password unless you dont use a keyboard.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    "Everything secret degenerates" is a lie that those behind government, the wicked, and the ignorant would have their victims believe. For example: who are all the members of the Federal Reserve? - 911 those set forth by government as the perpetrators may or may not be guilty. The public will never know who all the real players were. On the grand scale of secrets, a few slip out; some on purpose. The administration of justice, and liberty were not safe even after bearing discussion and publicity
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
    Who knows what's being covered up in a secret? Odds are it isn't good. It breeds deception and should only be employed if disclosure would possitively aid a public enemy, not to permanently hide an embarrassment
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    We should beware the current trend that privacy only belongs to those in government. If anything, public officials should be under the highest scrutiny while private citizens should be secure in their discussions, personal papers, correspondence, bank account balances, purchases, reading habits, sexual practices, etc.. Every new proposal for surveilling the public should first be implemented upon public officials from the President on down.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    There is a difference between the privacy of public officials and the privacy of citizens. After all, public officials are public servants and agree to give up a certain amount of privacy to avoid suspicion. If they don't, we get Vice Pres. Cheney. setting up an energy task force and not even revealing who was present. That proves the author's claim,"Everything secret degenerates".
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
    I believe this quote is true. That is why I can't believe in the trilateral coalition or the illuminati or any of all of that other crap.
     -- warren, olathe     
    It would be more acurate to say that most evil is done in secret, but not all secrets are evil. And many are best kept secret. The secrets kept for a motive that is deceptive and evil yes should be revelled, Like what is really going on in area 51??
     -- JoW, Utah     
    Tell that to our illustrious president of 2009. His words will agree, however, his actions will reflect just the opposite.
     -- Nancy, OH     
  • 1
    I feel this quote very deeply as I struggle with what has been called Justice
     -- Lilea Oliver, Smyrna     
  • 1
    Interesting Quote. Obviously Acton was speaking of the publics right or want to know. Some things must be kept secret, the world is not a safe place. Like a key that only resides in the mind of the keeper. 
     -- Ronw13, ID     
    Connecting discussions with publicity presents a quite a challenge in the conventional arrangement.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
    We all, outside the privileged class of some politicians, live in a petri dish. Our every move and word is recorded. Often with permission...even our 4th Amendment is under attack.

     -- ABBY     
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