Thomas Sowell

 Now, after years have passed without any of these feared disasters actually happening, the eroding of a sense of danger has led many to repeat the polio fallacy and act as if the dangers from which we have been protected did not exist -- and that the enhanced protection is therefore unnecessary.

 The many crackdowns on domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act, as well as the ability to intercept and disrupt their communications under the powers of that Act, receive little or no credit for the fact that there has been no repetition of anything like 9/11.

 The man principally responsible for law enforcement crackdowns on terrorists in the United States during this dangerous period -- Attorney General John Ashcroft -- not only received no gratitude for our safety, the complacency to which that safety led allowed many to indulge themselves in the luxury of vilifying Ashcroft at every turn.

 Like the police who arrive in large numbers to quell disturbances and are then accused of "over-reacting," the Patriot Act has been depicted as an over-reaction to terrorist activity. Indeed, the very word "terrorist" has been banned in much of the politically correct media.

 The Patriot Act is no closer to perfection than anything else human. It has costs, as every benefit has had costs, hard as it is for many among the intelligentsia to accept anything less than "win-win" situations.

 "I have a real problem with fascism," as one lady in a trendy California bookstore said fiercely, when discussing the Patriot Act.

 She was aghast when I replied, "I hadn't noticed any fascism."

 Have you?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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