There are many such tricks, another is to bring the important stuff up for vote in the last little bit before a session closes and to waste as much of the session prior to that by debating some inane point of some un-important issue at great length leaving insufficient time to debate the important stuff.
It's all tricks and psychology, reason has little to do with it.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
I agree. However, I believe the reason for this is more legislative laziness than anything else.
In the wake of a terrorist attack, the public demands that laws be changed to make them safer. The executive's law enforcement and intelligence agencies typically have a wish list that they repeatedly ask the legislature to enact, because it would make their jobs easier. The legislature, under tremendous pressure to do anything and fast, does not attempt to really analyze the legislation, but rather uses every parliamentary trick to rush it through.
The executive uses these expanded powers to check off national security goals it already had in mind (see e.g. the hundreds of arrests during the French state of emergency.)
The end result is threefold:
First the executive is emboldened to at least look like they're increasing security at home and abroad. At its worst, it either draws the nation into a war on territory chosen by the terrorists (see e.g. Afghanistan, the rock upon which the Soviet military machine shattered), or needless wars of choice which drain economic and military effectiveness (see e.g. Iraq)
Second, the country experiences an economic shock far out proportion to the actual attack, due to the fear of the populace, which directly and indirectly depresses multiple sectors of the economy.
Third, the country produces highly visible, although not necessarily highly effective, responses at the expense of sacrifice of civil liberties and personal convenience.
What's more is that terrorists count on this reaction.
They know that the costs of the response will vastly outweigh the actual damage of the attack.These particular non-state actors are deemed "terrorists" for a reason. Because their most powerful weapons are not airliners, or bombs, or assault rifles.
Their most powerful weapon is fear.
They use that fear to cause nations to make poor decisions, then exploit those decisions to advance their causes. The only solution which I can devise is simply not let fear arbitrate our decisions.
We must announce, as one voice, that we are no longer afraid.
The "public" is not the people at rallies, not even what people in the street and cafes are saying, but the tally of the vote at the next election, and politicians act accordingly.
As you can see from the first round of the regional elections, the French "public" overwhelmingly voted for more.
In any party political system, where your choices even when you do get to express an opinion are limited to perhaps half a dozen candidates and only 1-3 with any real chance of winning, the amount of real information you can convey to government about your preferences through voting in national elections is minuscule.
Consequently, as we see in practice, national elections are mostly dominated by a very small number of very high profile issues, and people vote for the candidate or party that most closely matches their views on their top priorities. One of these is almost always the economy. There might be another that is the political hot potato of the day, perhaps immigration or trade union relations or the fate of some popular public service.
On top of this, once a representative has been elected, in many cases they can then hold office for a full term regardless of their future actions, even if they deviate dramatically from what they said to get elected in the first place.
In this sense, our current forms of representative democracy typically are broken, because there is very little one can do as a citizen to express a nuanced view. Often you will get a choice of least-of-evils from your own perspective and that's it for another 4-6 years.
In order to overcome this, there are a few different things that I imagine would help, but they would all need fundamental changes to existing political systems.
Firstly, an elected representative could have reason to fear being unelected again if they lose the support of their electorate for too long. There is a balance to be found between protecting representatives who take decisions that are unpopular in the short term but genuinely in the long term interests of their electorate and forcing out a representative who says one thing before the election but then does another or takes an unexpected and unwelcome position on some particular issue after they've entered office. However, no politician would ever feel so safe in their position that they could do whatever they wanted without care for any consequences to their own career and influence for several more years.
Secondly, the electorate could have a mechanism to impose its will on specific issues in isolation. For example, if memory serves, a few places do have a binding referendum mechanism where the administration of the day cannot overrule the will of the people once confirmed by a referendum. Again this would presumably have to be used in moderation to be effective, but it would allow the people to express views on, say, environmental and energy policies, or the legalisation or otherwise of recreational drugs, or the legitimacy or otherwise of security measures that infringe on other freedoms. Perhaps the most valuable role of this kind of mechanism would be to highlight a subject that isn't quite a top priority in national elections, and thus to drive greater public awareness of the underlying issue and to promote associated debate.
Thirdly, a written constitution and a strong constitutional court could provide another way to mitigate opportunist or short-termist legislation that would other infringe on basic principles. Like the other two measures, this ultimately comes down to forcing an administration that wants to move the goalposts a long way to achieve and retain the positive support of a large proportion of the electorate on that specific issue for a significant period of time before the changes can become established in law. Of course, as we have seen in various countries, this can work well or not well depending on the effectiveness and independence of the constitutional court, so any such measures need adequate safeguards to ensure as much impartiality as possible.
It's all far too shallow and blurry. Hence the need to rally people on a fad argument, sad.
ps: on to reading the last half of your comment.
Well, that may be a subtle difference in interpretation but the general opinion is that we are 'unsafe' and that 'something should be done'.
Opposition parties in various countries have definitely used these attacks to create an impression that 'something could have been done' and that if they were in the driving seat 'something would have been done'. Incumbents are scared of losing voters due to being seen as 'doing nothing' and so will resort to doing 'something' just to stave off the inevitable (admitting that they don't know what to do, and neither does the opposition, mostly because there isn't a whole lot they can do to begin with that does not involve a change of course for the next 30 years and an admission that they royally messed up during the last 30 years).
Ah, but therein lies a little problem: we probably can't be made safer and eventually this will become obvious to the general population as well. Terrorists have it super easy in soft bellied countries like the west. We have but two choices: change our societies drastically for the worse or accept the fact that complete safety and societies such as the ones that we live in are mutually incompatible.
[W]e probably can't be made safer and eventually this will become obvious to the general population as well...
Exactly. How can you stop a few individuals from shooting up public spaces, especially in the United States? For that matter, how would you stop a pair of family members from carrying out attacks with homemade bombs?
We have but two choices: change our societies drastically for the worse or accept the fact that complete safety and societies such as the ones that we live in are mutually incompatible.
If we win this conflict, but sacrifice who we are in the process, then we are no better than those whom we fight.
It takes a certain determination to stand up to that kind of threat.
And the slightly more cynical view is that they are using the attacks to push through legislation that they wanted for other reasons AND they're using a story of hypothetical public opinion after hypothetical future events to make themselves seem more sympathetic.
And this is also not this is "doing everything that can be done." The Paris attackers didn't even use encryption and the attacks were not prevented, so there's a lot more things that they'd need to do before banning Tor and open wifi would even make a difference. So they'd still open to criticism from the same angle; score one for cynicism.
This practice is culturally independent and it is as old as human corruption. Egyptians and ancient Chinese and Romans were already experts.)
I'm just sympathetic to the viewpoint because it feels as if it is at least coming from the right place, especially as the damage from the attack is purposely amplified by the government organ of mainstream media.
For contrast: during war time there is a blanket ban on reporting 'bad news', successful attacks on ones own troops by the opponent because that is demoralizing or something to that effect. But if it really were demoralizing how come during peace time we amplify attacks way out of proportion? You'd expect that if the media being told to shut their traps would be to the advantage of those governing that this would be a fairly small thing to arrange. Instead we have the opposite, every instance of an individual event gets blown way out of proportion to push those buttons of powerful emotions.
>Similar false flag tactics were also employed during the Algerian civil war, starting in the middle of 1994. Death squads composed of Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS) security forces disguised themselves as Islamist terrorists and committed false flag terror attacks.
Conspiracy theories are comforting, in a way, because they project the belief that somebody is in control. The truth is far more terrifying: no one is in control.
The second part of his point is that by positing a conspiracy theory you are presenting a view that there is an overarching plan to all this, whereas the reality is more like a bunch of headless chickens trying to run in three directions at once.