The Forest, the Trees and the TSA

With all the naked viewing and groping going on, I wonder if this is the United States of America or the back room of an adult video store. We have two major problems here, the TSA and its intrusive unconstitutional invasions of our rights, and the bigger question of why are we turning into a police state.

Let’s start with the TSA. How many passengers have I seen interviewed on TV who all share the notion that “If it makes us safer then I think it is a good idea. I just want to get to my destination in one piece.” Not only does this presume that the government is more capable at assuring safety than private citizens, but it also illustrates an alarming trend in this country where we have become willing to so easily trade freedom for the illusion of safety (or prosperity, or charity).

Let me ask you this — who has the greatest interest in safe and secure airplanes? The government? On the contrary, the people themselves have the greatest self interest in safety. The airlines would not want to jeopardize their reputation, their financial security, nor the lives of the passengers. Then there would be the insurance companies who insure those planes who would insist on the airlines taking proper steps for safe travel. And finally there are the passengers, who are so interested in safety that they willingly bend over and accept the government’s intrusion. So we now have three key private players with major interest in the safety of planes.

The TSA only had a two-year contract before the airlines could opt out. I believe it is time for America’s airlines to opt out, or for the people to opt out of America’s airlines. Let airlines decide what security policies they employ, and then let the free people of America choose which airlines they feel safest flying. This simply means if you don’t want to blow up prematurely (if blowing up was already on your agenda), ride on a plane with tight professional security, and if you don’t want to pay more for a ticket (or be probed) ride on the plane without it. Freedom and security is not a trade off. Freedom IS security.

If you believe that the federal government has the greatest interest in a secure plane, or that we should employ a more intrusive “papers please” approach or the Israeli model of rapid fire interrogations, let me ask you a few questions. If we could make airlines 100% safe, so safe that we know that a terrorist will never board a plane and take it over, would that be the end of terrorism as we know it? Do secure airlines mean a secure America? Hardly, considering that in America we have thousands of events held daily where greater numbers of people gather.

Which brings us to the title of this article, “The Forest, the Trees and the TSA.” The TSA is actually only a symptom, while the real problem is our foreign policy. Our history in the Middle East did not start on Sept. 11, 2001. Understanding our involvement around the world and how it has a habit of coming to roost is key before we end up with check points outside our children’s soccer games.

Though any step toward privatization in the airline industry is an improvement, the ultimate solution to our problems is bringing our troops home and minding our own business. Foreign belligerence is immoral, incredibly costly, and it threatens our security by inspiring people to hate us.

This is not a “blame America first” mentality. This is blame bad policy first. The fact is that our foreign policy of a trillion dollars a year is bankrupting this country. The fact is that our involvement in these countries is the main reason some want to attack us. The fact is that the TSA represents a victory for the terrorists and a loss for freedom, and facts are never unpatriotic. We are accepting a federal government to protect our freedom when the federal government military/security state is openly hostile to freedom.

We have sent the government scrambling to find new ways to intrude on our rights, without realizing that our current foreign policy of entangling alliances and questionable corporate intent is the opposite of what our founders envisioned. We need to think about this the next time we see a Fox News report about the impending threat of Iran followed by an advertisement sponsored by Lockheed Martin. America can continue down a road of war, terror, insecurity and an ever increasing police state, or we can choose a new direction of peace, commerce, security and a foreign policy of freedom.

To me the choice is clear.

John Jay Myers
Whiskey & Gunpowder

November 29, 2010