Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chillax America!

I have to be honest. I never imagined that the new screening procedures at U.S. airports would cause such enormous controversy. I really don’t see the problem with TSA screeners being able to see the silhouette of “my junk” when I’m walking through a security checkpoint. I’m not worried that my scan is going to end up on the internet and even if it did, with all of the non-airport related porn availiable online these days,why would anyone care? It would seem that our country’s qualms about nudity, stemming from its puritanical roots, are still deeply engrained. For all of the differences with the Islamic world that we tout as making us culturally advanced, we still get stuck on the humility thing.

Of course this controversy wouldn’t be necessary at all if not for the American Left’s infantile insistence that an 80 year old nun carrying a bottle of Gatorade is just as likely to blow up an airplane as a 25 year old Middle Eastern looking male speaking Arabic. We all know the Left doesn’t actually buy into the idea that profiling wouldn’t work, but adopting the policy would go against the Left’s longstanding goal of preserving equality, which, for them, consists of striving to make everyone in the country equally miserable.

The typical leftist response to calls for racial and ethnic profiling is to say that if we start singling out individuals who we know are most likely to have terrorist tendencies, then Al Qaeda will start recruiting elderly Jewish women, or other unlikely candidates, to carry out their underwear bombings. Of course, this Jihadist strategy hasn’t developed in Israel, where El Al airlines remains the safest in the world thanks largely to profiling. But no! According to liberals, it is a national security imperative that toddlers of Norwegian descent undergo an invasive series of “love pats” to make sure that they’re not carrying c-4 in their diaper.

In the wake of the videos of crying 3-year old girls, x-rated jokes, skyrocketing latex glove sales and C.A.I.R’s efforts to try and secure a waiver from the new screening procedures--which, if achieved would pretty much render the entire exercise pointless--the federal government’s incompetence in this whole matter has gone largely unnoticed.

Americans who pay attention have known for a while that these new scanners were on the way. The media--particularly Drudge--has been talking about them for two years. Yet, the administration and the TSA made no visible effort to raise awareness about what the American people could expect once the new procedures were implemented. As a result, this whole thing is blowing up two weeks before the busiest travel day of the year and will undoubtedly cause plenty of airport chaos before the holiday season is over. Great timing! We would have all been better off had Americans been given a few months over the summer to come to terms with the idea of being seen naked by a TSA screener and the possibility of being groped by a government employee. This entire debate would have had time to play itself out and then………ELECTION!!!!..............Oh. Right. Never mind.

Your government at work ladies and gentlemen. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Just make sure you bring something to read for the security line and eat something before you go. Unlike most dates, the TSA guy isn’t going to buy you dinner before he gets down to business.

- Dan Joseph

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Allen said...

I cosider myself a conservative individual. I enjoy my freedom. That said, I am not riding on the anti-grope anti-x-ray porn party bus. My wife and I had this conversation over dinner, much to the dismay of my quesadilla eating son. While I am not threatened by a little radiation or the warm grope of a government employee who may have the worst government job, with the exception of Sheila Jackson Lee's legislative assistant, I do understand the hubbub. There is a group of citizens, a large group, that have had enough. We are in an environment where any threat to liberty, real or perceived, heaped on top of the gruel that has been forced down the throat of the citizenry over the last several years is going to generate some resistance. I don't hate the grope or the groper, but I understand where the anger comes from.

Mitchell said...

I do agree that we should empower the people and the security agents involved to maximize safety. However, I do not understand your overall position. It resembles other opinions in favor of the TSA's procedures which says people are over-reacting without thinking (strikingly similar to the opinions people have about the Tea Party). In the words of William Shatner, "I can't get behind that."

Here's my beef with this argument. There is a trade-off with the new current state, which is less individual liberty for the sake of the common good. And, there is a trade-off for the procedures preferred by those objecting to the intrusion, which is less security for more liberty or convenience. But, those arguing in favor of the current procedures appear to feel righteous and to be justified by the idea that those who object are not aware of the trade-off, are too naive to understand it, and, therefore, are in need of protection from it (doesn't sound too trusting of individuals).

There seems to be this blind faith that the threat of violence (police and government derive their power from violence) and use of force via a bureaucratic organization will provide security. I think the track record for this paradigm shows it to be the most costly and least effective(look at Iraq and the war on drugs). There doesn't seem to be a comprehensive comparison of the costs and benefits or an objective analysis of the true threat. Instead solutions are determined by a few in the political class (very prone to group think), and issued by mandate with little flexibility or opportunity for feedback. I can't help but wonder if we might have come up with better, more effective solutions that were centered on empowerment as opposed to fear and violence.

A government by the people and for the people, believing all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, should be more vigilant in the problem solving process it uses.