“After moving to the Washington area in 1980, I was appalled to see what passed for good writing inside the Beltway. The prevailing standards seemed designed to make magazine and newspaper subscribers regret ever learning to read. Many articles resembled a numbing four-hour politburo speech. Voiceless prose with a low-watt righteous drone was the tacit ideal. “Go team, go!” was the epitome of literary excellence. There was nothing to learn from the vast majority of pieces except which side of a dispute the author favored. Alternatively, some writers prided themselves on being perpetually overwrought—a blight that reached epidemic levels after the election of Donald Trump.
‘A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case,” according to nineteenth-century humorist Finley Peter Dunne. Similarly, I assumed that if only folks knew the facts of the matter about the government, they would rise up and demand an end to the injustices they suffer daily. Did I presume that political truth would set Americans free? Maybe I was not that naïve, but I still thought that damning facts would wake up enough Americans to stop government from destroying everyone’s freedom.
Some editors appreciated how I scavenged up hard facts to buttress hardline views. Spending time in federal agency libraries and rifling through their archives, I saw how government power was stockpiled by lie after lie. While the specific deceits vanished into the memory hole, politicians’ prerogatives continually grew. I saw that, time and again, early opponents foresaw and forecast how new programs would crash and burn but their alarms were ignored. The system seemingly conspired to bury all evidence of its debacles.”