World Trade Center attack and civil liberties

Why does everyone keep on saying that maintaining security requires loss of civil liberties?! That's only true when the mechanism for maintaining security is a highly centralized entity which hasn't been well-integrated into society - in other words, when the law enforcement community perceives itself as an entity separate from the society that it is supposed to be protecting, and that the society should just let them do their job & not get in the way.

If you want to maintain civil liberties, then your "law enforcement" needs the _ACTIVE_ support of the society. At the very least, if almost everyone in society trusted their law enforcement agents, then those agencies would find that people would tend to come forward to help those agents do their jobs. The agents would have the equivalent of a stakeout from every person's window, and willing witnesses in every location - but all with the goodwill of the populace, thus limiting the erosion of civil liberties.

I don't see this happening with the current law enforcement policies, especially with regard to the drug war (and pedophiles, and now probably terrorism). The law enforcement agencies regard themselves as autonomous from the general population, specializing in law enforcement, who have lost the trust of large chunks of the population they're supposed to be protecting, and who therefore perceive that the only way they can "do their job" (in a short-term way) is to reduce the effectiveness of those "civil liberties" which get in their way.

Of course, this kind of attitude only reinforces the distrust of the populace: a vicious cycle.
Reply
Replies:
Comfortably Anonymous
9/16/2001 10:55:34 AM
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.