Gustave Le Bon would have something to say about this. He’d point to the sugestibility of the emotionally aroused crowd:
Almost three-quarters of the public believe that it is right to give up civil liberties to improve our security against terrorist attacks.
A Guardian/ICM poll published today shows that 73% of respondents back the trade-off, with only 17% rejecting it outright. The results provide evidence of public support for Tony Blair’s anti-terrorist reforms which he unveiled before leaving on his summer holiday earlier this month.
I simply do not accept there is a trade-off to be had. Our liberty is our safety.
The world is replete with counterexamples to the trade-off twitch. (One cannot call it a theory.)
Take Saudi Arabia. Civil liberty does not exist there. It is an alien concept, and, in common with other alien concepts, banned. There is no protection of citizen from state, and no limit to the actions that can be taken.
Yet terrorism is in robust health. The Kingdom’s official figures for the last two years (which one would expect to paint the rosiest picture) are 129 dead and 720 injured among civilians and security forces. More than twice Britain’s casualties among a population that may be around a third of ours–reliable figures on anything Saudi being hard to come by. (They probably have significantly more police, too.)