Revisiting Terry Gilliam's film Brazil reminds me of something.
When it comes time to debate the question of increased powers of government, people like Theodore Olson assure us that our leaders are benevolent, and even if unpleasantness should happen, those in charge would never be seeking to expand their own power for its own sake, but only to serve security and domestic tranquility. When the crisis is over, they will, like George Washington, voluntarily give up power.
But I'm sure you know the saying, "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity." (This quote has been floating around the Internet as "Hanlon's Razor" for quite a long time, but no one seems to be sure where it comes from.) If you multiply Hanlon's Razor by the assurances of the Solicitor General, we end up with a world like Brazil, where people are reduced to participating all of an inhumane system's inhumanities, not out of malice, not out of righteousness, but just to cover for their own--and the system's--incompetence.
I'm reminded of the person at the INS who was shredding documents--even including visas and passports!--in order to keep anyone from knowing that her office was falling behind on paperwork.
--Melissa O, at 23:33