Monday, November 22, 2010

Two wrongs don't make a right

I agree with Tyler that the TSA's obsession with American genitals is not the worst thing our government is doing in the war on terror.

Warrant-less wiretaps, renditions, torture, assassinations, civilian deaths are all clearly worse, and I am strongly opposed to all those things.

But that doesn't make the TSA policies right, and it doesn't mean I cannot or should not rail against them.

That's the part of his argument I don't agree with.


Anonymous said...

The war on terror should be limited to high altitude bombing, long range missiles, and drones. 1000 collateral casualties is better than one American death. Turn Afghanistan into a parking lot.

Richard Stands said...

But of course, two Wrights made that first airplane.

I agree that the federal government has and still does worse things. I also agree that this comparatively minor infraction is still unacceptable in a "free country."

During the Bush years, I got sick to death of the phrase "If we do X, the terrorists win." But I've got news: The terrorists *did* win. The point of terrorism is to terrify. A previously free people have become terrified enough to passively look on as government agents grope their genitals and strip search their children - all without probable cause, just "routine." Terror still drives the safety hysteria. The terrorists *have* won.

If Americans want to reverse that victory, they have to accept that the only way to be 100% secure is to live inside padded slavery, and reject that. Security at any price is far, far too much security.

We need to cease being the land of the regulated and home of the terrified, and start being free and brave again.


Sorry. I ran low on my Soma today.

Pelsmin said...

The entire premise of air travel's special security arrangements is based on irrationality. Blowing up a plane can cause a couple hundred deaths -- about the same as blowing up three Greyhound buses at highway speed. So what's the point in examining people's underwear by hand when they can put 40 pounds of TNT in a suitcase and place it under the bus?

After 9/11, we had the added danger of using commandeered planes to kill thousands and destroy billions in property. That danger has been addressed, if not by the use of reinforced cockpit doors than by the knowledge that it was done, and the likelihood that pilots and passengers wouldn't allow it again.

So the new airport security is at best the government bowing to citizen's irrational fears by trying to reduce the risk of a plane blowing up, and at worst is the government thinking they are allocating resources wisely to keep people safe. In fact, every time they force someone into a car instead of flying they put that person at 40X greater risk of injury or death.