November 12th, 2004

Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

Paging through Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract this evening for no particular reason -- and in a moisture-yellowed copy that Annalee once used to keep her 1890 Arch Street window open -- I stumbled across the following passage, written in a section discussing the Roman Republic, in which he reflects on the introduction of secrecy in voting:
The citizens were provided, therefore, with tablets by means of which each man could vote without any one knowing how he voted: new methods were also introduced for collecting the tablets, for counting voices, for comparing numbers, etc.; but all these precautions did not prevent the good faith of the officers charged with these functions from being often suspect.
Maybe we're living through a different sort of Renaissance.
  • Current Music
    that song from Barbie: The Princess and the Pauper