Self-Disclosing the Point

Mark FensterBlog

I intend this site to promote my two related books to a non-specialist audience. The books make a broad argument about contemporary politics, law, and culture—that nothing is precisely what it seems, and the things that appear dangerous and destructive are products of the same dynamic that creates a democratic nation and functional government.

For worse and better, conspiracy theories play a key role in populist political rhetoric. We cannot purge them from our thoughts and political parties, in part because we rely on them and enjoy them too much.

Similarly, we cannot rid ourselves of secrecy in order to create a more perfect democracy. Government inevitably produces information that it cannot or will not share, some of it germane to politics and some of it irrelevant. But government also can’t hold fast to the information it attempts to protect. Secrecy won’t necessarily destroy us, but transparency will certainly not save us.

All of these things are true: the non-conspiratorial state cannot exist; the transparent state cannot exist; and transparency will not cure the belief in conspiracy theories. We are paranoid and can’t cure ourselves, and we are overly invested in the idea that information can solve our problems when it can’t. These are the “secrets” my books reveal.

Please have a look at my books. Meanwhile, you can see my professional academic profile here, my cv here, and collections of my more technical and academic writings here, here, and here.