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.
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