"You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste," said Rahm Emanuel in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. "It's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid."
The "important things" most politicians want to do usually involve more government controls. Post-crisis, they hurry to expand the state's power over us before crisis-bred emotions like panic and anger can fade.
In doing so, they often blindly ignore relevant facts that even a little time for discussion would bring to light. That's why Glenn Reynolds argues for a "Waiting period for laws, not guns" in a recent USA Today column.
"Efforts to push legislation through while emotions are high mean that the legislation doesn't get the kind of scrutiny that legislation is supposed to get," Reynolds wrote. "Laws are dangerous instruments, too, and legislators seem highly prone to sudden fits of hysteria."
Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now says we must "start thinking a little bit more about the implications of things before we rush to legislate."
This is not a pie-in-the-sky proposal. In many cities and states, today, an informed public can even petition a hastily enacted law onto the ballot for a referendum.
Paul Jacob is president of the Liberty Initiative Fund. His Common Sense with Paul Jacob columns are available at www.ThisIsCommonSense.com.