Immediately following the arrest of the suspect charged with last weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, some national security conservatives openly mused about depriving the naturalized American citizen of due process rights.
Such thinking is “more Vladimir Putin than James Madison,” Andrew Napolitano writes in a new column for Reason, adding, “it is in times of fear — whether generated by outside forces or by the government itself — when we need to be most vigilant about protecting our liberties.”
Napolitano also writes:
The idea that sacrificing liberty actually enhances safety enjoys widespread acceptance but is erroneous. The Fort Hood massacre, the Boston Marathon killings, the slaughters in San Bernardino and Orlando, and now the bombings in New Jersey and New York all demonstrate that the loss of liberty does not bring about more safety.
The loss of liberty gives folks the false impression that the government is doing something — anything — to keep us safe. That impression is a false one because in fact it is making us less safe, since a government intent on monitoring our every move and communication loses sight of the moves and communications of the bad guys. As well, liberty lost is rarely returned. The Patriot Act, which permits federal agents to bypass the courts and issue their own search warrants, has had three sunsets since 2001, only to be re-enacted just prior to the onset of each — and re-enacted in a more oppressive version, giving the government more power to interfere with liberty, and for a longer period of time each time.