Another Modest Proposal
have not flown since September 11, and I am not in much of a rush
to do so. I take along a lot of reading matter when I fly, and I
can imagine some security operative drawn from the non-reading classes
interrogating me thusly: "Why you readiní Der Spiegel,
boy? Ainít People Magazine good enough for you? What kinda
íMurrican are you, anyway? You better wait here."
maybe not. They canít be too careful. Thereís terraces about, or
however they pronounce it.
we seem doomed for the foreseeable future to put up with long lines,
arbitrary searches, seizures of our pointed sticks, pet tigers,
and 16-tonne weights. I wonder if pens and pencils come under the
new safety rules? I want to say in passing that it is very wicked
to make detainees listen to Barry Manilow tapes.
Strangers To Me
number of writers have mentioned, on lewrockwell.com and elsewhere,
the sheer absurdity of searching a cross-section of everyone, regardless
of race, color, creed, national origin, bad hair, resemblance to
actual terrorists, etc., so that the authorities can show that even
as they fight terraces they have not given up their deep commitment
to multicultural diversity. The latter, you must know by now, is
implicit in our Founding Documents, as understood by the interpreting
classes when they smoke their hermeneutic weed.
the other hand, the proper authorities expect the public to support
their efforts by land, sea, and air and they really donít need
to go irritating the public unnecessarily. I suggest a compromise.
Rather than a random quota system for searching passengers, I propose
a genealogical rule.
lunch in some anthrax-free part of the Worldís Great Deliberative
Body, the usual pork handlers can work out the details. My suggestion
is that any American who can show proof that a direct ancestor on
either side of his or her family arrived on these shores before,
say, 1840 should go to the head of the line. If theyíre not "loyal"
by now, who is?
may find the date given above a bit restrictive. Okay, how about
1880? I grant that cash may have to change hands while an exact
year is worked out, but thatís the political process. Those political
science textbooks I studied in the late sixties were very explicit
about that. They referred to such things as articulating and aggregating
advantages of the Old Dan Tucker Rule, as we might call it, are
manifold. First, it obviates the need for any phony-baloney national
ID. Under this rule, one need only wave a genealogical chart at
sundry airport clerks, security personnel, and machine-gun wielders.
Many Americans would go right through to their gate, and flying
could return to something like its pre-September 11 level of annoyance.
Threat To Our Dearest Values?
know that high-minded egalitarians might blanch at this plan. I
grant that the rule might inadvertently "privilege" certain
portions of the population. Southerners and Mormons, who generally
know their genealogy, would zip through airports with the speed
of a neo-conservative calling for additional wars. But on a happier
note, African-Americans would certainly be grandfathered in, so
to speak, along with Native Americans (formerly dba as Indians).
Thatís egalitarian enough for me.
Americans English, Dutch, French, German, Irish, African-American,
Native Natives, and there may be others would unite, as never
before, on the ground of their longevity on these shores. It would
be a 19th-century rainbow coalition. We would
those who might be lagging behind on their genealogical research,
I suggest a visit to the Brigham Young University Bookstore on line
to find software. There are six or more major websites devoted to
genealogy. You canít trust everything you find on these we are
probably not all descended from Charles Martel but with a little
work, one can arrive at relative genealogical certainty. Itís good
enough for government work.
for those unlucky enough to have no ancestor in these parts before
1840, 1860, or 1880, a Common Sense Rule could be followed in airports
and other Homeland Weak Points. Now you know this is not a serious
proposal. Common sense in government-controlled airports. Not bloody
if it were a perfect world, the post-1880 folks could be scanned
for such outward traits as Being Chinese, Being Norwegian, or Being
Greek. Since the government, for various reasons of victimology,
already likes to classify us by race, it shouldnít be a great intellectual
feat for it to share such data with airport personnel, federalized
number of people searched and seized for possible terrorist intentions
would plummet as fast as the famous mouton Anglo-Français,
or flying sheep.
Traced All The Way Back To MacAdam, The First Scotsman
really was an Old Dan Tucker, by the way. He seems to have been
a farmer in Georgia. Heíd get through the check-in line real fast.
let a thousand genealogies bloom. Shintoists of the Western World,
unite! Just donít complain to me, if your family lines criss-cross
about ten times before 1860. It was smaller population then. Those
mountain Williams married their third and fourth cousins all the
time. And then they ran off to Oregon. Go figure.
is not true, however, despite Phil Harris, that you can be your
is a downside. Sometimes you find out you are related to someone
who came over with William the Bastard in 1066. Came over to England,
I mean. Itís hard to live that down. Go to the front of the line,
Nothing in the above essay, a mere attempt at humor, should be taken
as reflecting on anyone living or dead, unless of course it does.
Of course, Iím mostly kidding.]
Joseph R. Stromberg [send
him mail] is the JoAnn B. Rothbard Historian in Residence at
the Ludwig von Mises Institute
and a columnist for Antiwar.com.
© 2001 LewRockwell.com
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