… 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.