… is from page 221 of Cass Sunstein’s excellent 2005 book, Laws of Fear:
In a sense, sensible governments “overprotect” liberties, compared to the level of protection that liberties would receive in a system of (optimal) case-by-case balancing. Because optimal balancing is not likely to occur in the real world, rule-based protection is a justifiable second best.
DBx: Rules are vitally important, and Cass Sunstein deserves applause for being among the relatively few progressives who understand the reason of rules. Fear, and the panic that it fuels, too easily lead people to demand that government suspend their and their fellow-citizens’ liberties – and government officials are all too eager to oblige.
Note that what Sunstein calls “rule-based protection” is second best in comparison only to government as it would be carried out by an omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-benevolent god.