Via Instantman, Jim Bennett reminds me of what I dislike most about the Patriot Act, which is that it has a cost in civil liberties without, as far as I can see, actually benefiting national security. One can argue about how much trade off is a good idea, but I can’t see arguing that something for nothing is a good idea.Bennett says
More frightening than the demise of the program, however, was the manner of its demise. Not only have we been deprived of the information the program would have given us, but we have sent a powerful message to those on the front lines of defense against terror. That message is “Don’t think. Don’t Innovate. Don’t take risks.” It’s not as if these characteristics have been so predominant in the civil service that we can afford to suppress them gratuitously.This is thematically the same as my objection to the Patriot Act. It’s just more of the same old not particularly successful policies. Have a problem? Just pass some more law. It’s a lot easier than doing anything that would be an actual improvement. It’s just a cover to make it look like things are getting better without the heavy lifting of fixing problems. This is one of the strongest complaints about the tranzi view of the world, that they consider law effective of itself. I don’t like seeing the conservatives fall in to the same trap.