KPC BFF Will Wilkinson writes a useful article on the idiot docility of the American public: the government says it needs to rub its hands on our tingly bits, so it must be necessary, line up, don't make trouble!
Some time ago, I tried to come up with the best explanation I could think of on the positive side: costly signals.
But that doesn't really explain our long term acceptance of this pointless abuse. Especially since a guy can get on a plane after his dad calls to warn authorities, and then all they want to do is "interview" him after the plane lands.
Here's one I don't get: I was waiting to pick up Tyler C., at the RDU airport. I was told I could not leave the car for even 30 seconds. I could wait in the parked car for three minutes, and then I had to circle the airport and come back. I did that three times. May I ask you: Why? There has never, ever been an attack on an airport, from the outside. Is the reasoning that there were some attacks during flights, flights imply airplanes, airplanes land at airports, and my car was parked at an airport? The drop-off lane where I was meeting Tyler was empty, no people around except me and the cop; no terrorist would pick that place for bomb attack. As we know, it is easy to drive a truck full of explosives to Times Square, or some other densely populated area, yet there is no security there at all. (Nor should there be, given the odds of an attack are still pretty much zero).
So why do the airport cops outside, and the TSA inside, make us jump and dance and obey? Because they can, folks. Because they can. And we all just say, "Please! Sir! May I have another!"
(Nod to @MsCourt)