Thomas Sowell

What cameras can do is give you the illusion of knowing what is going on when in fact you don't have a clue. Ignorance is preferable to the illusion of knowledge.

No small part of the social disasters that have made the words "unintended consequences" so widely known comes from people who have had the illusion of knowledge.

You cannot photograph what is relevant when what is truly relevant goes on within the minds of other people and finds its context in a whole body of writings and traditions that go back for generations.

Without that knowledge, you are just kidding yourself by looking at pictures. And if you do have that knowledge, the federal appellate court records are open to all and are bound in volumes that last for centuries.

Cameras in the courtroom amount to free advertising for lawyers and judges, free footage for TV, and more pictures for newspapers and magazines. So it is easy to see why Editor & Publisher wants it. But let's not wrap this in the mantle of the public's right to know.

A much stronger case could be made for removing cameras from where they are now than for intruding them into places where they trivialize more than they inform. We don't need to turn the Supreme Court of the United States into another "Judge Judy."


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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