I do have views on the PATRIOT Act. I would love to answer your question, but I want to be sure of what you mean. Are you asking if the PATRIOT Act has changed the balance by taking away individual rights in order to enhance public order?
The answer to that question is yes - I mean that's the basis of any law - anywhere - to enforce public order. So that's not really open for debate. The act was passed, therefore it was ment to "enhance" public order by taking away individual rights.
The second part of the question - is it a good change?
Personally, no, I do not think that it is a good change.
I will say, first of all - my reasons are not because I do not want the US to be safe from terrorism and the like - I absolutely DO want the US to be safe. I just don't think that this is the way to go about it.
Basically the passing of the PATRIOT Act circumvented Article V of the Constitution and Nullified Amendments IV, V and VI.
To me, this is very, very distressing. On many levels.
First - where does this stop? The PATRIOT Act has so many grey areas that have already been exploited - where does it stop?
Second - My DH took an oath when he joined the military, It starts like this: "I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;"
My husband DID NOT swear allegiance to the PATRIOT Act! And he is out there risking his life to help bring "democracy" to others. What kind of democracy is this that throws away the Supreme Law of the Land so hastily?
There is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin that basically sums it up:
"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."