This contribution examines the legislative responses to terrorism in Germany after 9/11 in regard to the question of whether and to what extent averting dangers to state security can be counterproductive when the price is the imposition of major restrictions on the civil rights and liberties of those whose freedom ought to be protected by the government. Tensions between striving for freedom and trying to increase security arise in principle wherever democratic states ruled by law try to guarantee both to their citizens. Anti-terror laws only serve their purpose if they improve the state's ability to defend itself against terrorist attacks without excessively restricting the civil rights of citizens, because the value that should be protected is the continuity of the liberal lifestyle of the state's sovereign, the people. It may not be possible to foresee all of the consequences of the tightrope walk between increasing security and reducing liberty that may result from any proposed legislation. But to prevent a quasi-state of emergency from becoming a normal state of affairs, and to prevent civil rights from being permanently restricted, it would be wise to provisionally limit the duration of proposed new security laws to two years and to require that any prolongation beyond that same period should depend upon an evaluation of its usefulness.
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