Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 596, November 21, 2010

"Protecting our lives by depriving us of
any reason we might have for living them"

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Good profiling and bad profiling
by Paul Bonneau
2 paulbx1 dfgh net

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Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

The TSA fiasco has got libertarians writing about alternatives. Now, I can't get too excited about other "more refined" ways of detecting "terrorists", since that notion admits it is government's job to protect me. I reject that; the last thing I want is to have that bunch of murderous bastards "protecting" me. The things actually protected in this fiasco are, for example, Michael Chertoff's good fortune.

The other problem with a kinder, gentler TSA is that it is a bandaid that ignores the real problem: invading and occupying other peoples' countries.

However, one thing that struck me about these other libertarians' suggestions is their acceptance of profiling. For example, Michael Rozeff writes,

Racial profiling, which is the bugbear that is raised against screening, is not the only way to screen people. Country of origin is but one natural way for a government to conduct a non-physical screening that doesn't violate the dignity, rights, and privacy of its citizens.

If a government is going to conduct safety procedures, at least do it in sensible ways. It means that there will be flexibility in the screening. Some people, indeed the great majority of people, will get through easily and without physical invasions of their persons, exposure to x-rays, rights violations, and without an enormous waste of their time and the resources of taxpayers.

It will be a considerable victory for liberty, even if not a full measure is achieved, if the government recognizes officially that different strokes apply to different folks...

What a coy way to put it, "different strokes". I mean, who could have a problem with that?!

I don't buy this, for several reasons. It's still the old problem of "driving while black", just applied to another population in another place. It excuses the notion of government picking winners and losers. It's unfair and a lot of people, even those not inconvenienced, will oppose it, and it will just generate a lot of controversy. It depends on nationality, something that is inherently wrong. And it just won't work!

One other thing—it does not strike me as very libertarian.

I'm all for equality. Not the usual thing, equal outcomes; I want equality in government screwing with people. If anyone who is not a criminal is to be treated like a criminal, then all people should be treated that way. Yeah, even pilots and Congresscritters.

Now, I wasn't born yesterday. I know that if there is anything that characterizes government, it is special treatment for the nomenklatura and other favored forms of scum. Reality is what it is. But, this is something in our favor. It's one of the things that gets ordinary folks peeved about government—that people in government get special treatment. Why legitimize the notion? Why let the ruling class morally off the hook for doing it, by accepting these bad forms of profiling? They would like nothing better than general acceptance of the idea that government gets to pick who to favor and who to screw with.

People don't have a heck of a lot of control over whether their hair is curly or their skin is brown, or what country they were born in. But they do have control over one thing, and that thing is a perfect characteristic on which to fairly discriminate: their opinion.

Let's have two sets of airline flights. One set has no security whatever (unless the airline wants it); in some cases one might even be able to bring one's loaded carry piece. Just buy your ticket and walk on board. The other set of flights has the same obscene TSA crap we are now putting up with for all commercial flights, and even worse things they are likely to dream up in the future.

And how are people selected for one set or the other?

It's very simple and quick. When purchasing tickets, the no-hassle flights require the passenger to sign a document saying, "I strongly oppose the invasion and occupation of any country by U.S. troops." Only way he gets on that flight is if he signs that paper.

Is there any risk? No, of course not. Why would "terrorists" (AKA foreign patriots) kill people who don't want to invade their country? It would be kinda counterproductive. There is no incentive. And even if you were one of the boobs who thought 9/11 happened because we were "free", it's not your problem—you might think the people taking the no-hassle flights were idiots, but it actually improves your own security by letting them take that risk.

Let the boobs continue to run the TSA gantlet. They want it, they think it's good, so let 'em have it. Rectal inspections? No problemo! Just let the rest of us be free.

In the meantime, I'm not flying anywhere, and haven't for years. TSA and the airlines can rot in Hell.


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