Airports have lately become synonymous with the above title. In order to go on any type of air travel in the US one must now go through thorough searches via body scanners. Something that began with Metal detectors has now progressed to shoes being taken off to full soft core pornographic body scanners to potentially being felt up in very personal areas of our bodies.
Conventional wisdom says that this is quite alright to ensure our safety as passengers aboard flights ever since that tragic day in 2001 and thwart attempts from subsequent terrorist threats. This is a very good reason to mandate that these types of very intimate searches be performed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I submit that there is something extremely wrong with this from the perspective of freedom and personal liberties.
A quick analysis of recent TSA trends or rather the logic they employ tells us much about the future if nothing is done to prevent further advances into our most private of parts (pun intended). The TSA was implemented after the failure of the FAA to stop the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. In good old leviathan fashion, one failed Government agency was replaced by another Government agency. After security was ramped up, we were told to remove laptops from our bags and put them into separate containers. Furthermore we were told to remove all liquids from our carry-on or place them into 1.5oz to 3oz containers and/or 1 quart-size clear plastic, zip-top bags holding 3 ounce or smaller containers. Once a terrorist decided to attempt to place an explosive in his shoe we were all consequently told to remove our shoes when going through security. Amazingly enough someone figured out a way around the system and decided to try and put an explosive device in their underwear! Of course, this lead to the full body scanners and the very intrusive pat downs of both male and female twins (I don't need to spell this out, do I?).
The populace has taken this in stride and has cooperated with the TSA. However once our personal space is invaded, in this instance the most personal of spaces, we must all say enough is enough. Where does this stop? Sure, currently there are isolated cases of abuses by the TSA's newly granted powers, where brain-dead drones harass young mothers. I would like to see if any of our overlords in Washington D.C. have had any experiences such as these or endured such treatments. Who is to say that these abuses can be contained? What if their frequency increases? These are questions a responsible individual must ask himself or follow the rest of the herd where war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
Lets hypothetically surmise that right now terrorists are figuring out a way to implant explosive devices inside of their skulls, a device that contains materials that are not picked up by the metal detector or shown in the full body scanners and much less felt during "grope downs". This terrorist successfully boards a plane and the rest you can figure out for yourself. Consequently the TSA implements another security measure where your brains are scanned and bombarded with rays in order to check and see if you have any devices implanted. The idea here is to make you ask the question, where does the intrusiveness stop? When is it no longer okay? Where do we draw the line? Why do terrorists only want to set off bombs in airplanes? Wouldn't it affect a lot more people and send a louder message if the suicide bomber did so in the terminal where there is no security checkpoint and anyone can waltz into a crowded area unchecked? Should we not have two levels of security then, one to enter the terminal and one to enter the gate area? Wait, what about other transportation centers such as Bus Terminals and Train Stations?
Sure these are all hypothetical scenarios and questions. How about the legality of unreasonable searches and seizures of the masses? I was under the impression that all Government representatives take an oath to uphold our constitution, the supreme law of the land. Does the blatant oversight of the 4th amendment imply that the USA has become a land in which its own laws are not followed by its legislative body? "Oh, but the document is quaint and desperate times call for desperate measures". I submit that it is precisely in times of danger where we should be the most observing of our laws to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected and not usurped in times of danger and peril. "Those who give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety". ~ Benjamin Franklin
Regarding the applicants for TSA jobs, is it safe to expect that they employ normal folks who have no hidden intents such as those of a sexual nature? After all a background check may reveal a clean record but it will not reveal a well hidden distorted mind. The usual defense parroted by all is that these agents are just doing their jobs. Please do not get lost in the extremism of the following example but simply understand the logic behind it, in Nazi Germany many citizens were just doing their jobs too. This does not justify their actions at all. It states that one is clearly incapable of thinking for himself and just takes orders regardless of their egregious nature. This type of apathy and acceptance is reminiscent of Pastor Martin Niemoller's quote:
"They came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, And by that time no one was left to speak up"
This is not the strong American stance that built such a rich and prosperous nation in its early stages. This type of complacency is inexcusable in a free society with inalienable rights. There are free market solutions that would fare much better than the aforementioned. One must always remember that the private sector responds to constantly evolving demands and must adapt quickly in order to maintain profitability whereas the public sector responds to itself and always lags adaptability as it does not require profitability (see Post Office/Amtrak) due to the Government's full monopoly of fiduciary media.
Born in Brazil, David Klein [send him mail] is a graduate from the University of Central Florida school of Business. He is currently working in the energy industry, and is a student of the Austrian School of Economics.