Jeremy Bentham’s quote, “Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government,” is a reflection of his belief in transparency and accountability in government and public affairs. Secrecy, for Bentham, is associated with conspiracy because it allows those in power to act without scrutiny or accountability.
When government actions and decisions are kept secret, it’s easier for corruption, misconduct, or abuse of power to go unnoticed and unpunished. This secrecy can undermine trust in the government and its institutions, as well as the fundamental democratic principle that the government should be accountable to the people.
On the other hand, transparency – making government actions and decisions open to public scrutiny – helps to ensure that those in power are held accountable for their actions. It allows the public to be informed about what their government is doing and why, and it provides a check on potential abuses of power.
So, when Bentham says that secrecy ought not to be the system of a regular government, he’s advocating for openness, transparency, and accountability as essential elements of a functioning, just, and democratic society.