"information is the currency of democracy"

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 22 03:35:03 UTC 2010


As Jefferson himself noted, "So many persons have of late found an
interest or a passion gratified by imputing to me sayings and writings
which I never said or wrote..." (TJ to Alexander White, 10 September


On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 10:20 PM, geoffrey nunberg
<nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       geoffrey nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      "information is the currency of democracy"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In connection with a course we're  teaching, my colleague Paul Duguid asked me about a sentence in a recent Guardian commentary on Wikilieaks by Ralph Nader:
>> Wasn't it Jefferson who said that "information is the currency of democracy" and that, given a choice between government and a free press, he'll take the latter?
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/16/julian-assange-wikileaks-eric-holder
> That sentence is attributed to Jefferson all over the web, but the earliest cite Paul been able to find for it is from a 12/31/71 NYT op-ed called "The Underachievements of Congress" by... wait for it.... Ralph Nader, where it's not attributed: "If information is the currency of democracy, it is time to apply that principle to the sinews of citizenship involvement with their representatives in Congress."
> Is this, as we suspect, one of those quotations that grew an eminent early progenitor late in the game? Or did Jefferson really say something like this?
> Geoff
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