Originally published in Broad + Liberty.
The terrorist attacks on 9/11, Covid-19, the storming of the U.S. Capitol; each of these events in modern history precipitated erosions of our freedoms—freedoms we’ve willingly traded for security.
In the moment, such decisions seem obvious. Who wouldn’t forgo some privacy to prevent terrorists from killing thousands of Americans? Who wouldn’t temporarily close a restaurant to protect their elderly parents? But time and time again, ostensibly short-term expansions of government quickly become permanent fixtures in our lives.
Consider the landscape after 9/11, when Americans widely supported the federal Patriot Act, an unprecedented expansion of government surveillance. This was closely followed by the Bush administration’s creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These post-9/11 reforms continue to profoundly shape American society in wide-ranging ways. Were they worth it?
By 2010, a Washington Post investigative report concluded that…
Read more at Broad + Liberty.