Thursday, January 07, 2010
Still catching up with the news when able, I learned through HBL of some trenchant observations by Christopher Hitchens about airline "security" after the Christmas bombing attempt. His observations also go far to explain anarcho-tyranny, of which his subject matter is an example.
Hitchens notes that for every news story about a Moslem fanatic waltzing through security on his way to attempt murder, there is another one about additional "security" burdens borne by the rest of us. He comments:
Why do we fail to detect or defeat the guilty, and why do we do so well at collective punishment of the innocent? The answer to the first question is: Because we can't--or won't. The answer to the second question is: Because we can. The fault here is not just with our endlessly incompetent security services, who give the benefit of the doubt to people who should have been arrested long ago or at least had their visas and travel rights revoked. It is also with a public opinion that sheepishly bleats to be made to "feel safe." The demand to satisfy that sad illusion can be met with relative ease if you pay enough people to stand around and stare significantly at the citizens' toothpaste. My impression as a frequent traveler is that intelligent Americans fail to protest at this inanity in case it is they who attract attention and end up on a no-fly list instead. Perfect.Binswanger rightly notes that the solution to this problem remains to go on offense. He mentions a foreign policy proposal that I happen to agree with, but I have noted in the past that a freer economy could do wonders to enhance travel security, too.
The Islamic totalitarians are coopting the apparatus of the nanny state. All the more reason to disband it, then. The task is daunting because the real power lies with the people who are willing to accept a nanny state. Their overall opinion needs to change to an appreciable degree before the nanny state will be eliminated. But once that occurs, the Islamic totalitarians will drop like the flies they are.
In today's world, when one can feel beset on every side by enemies, that kind of economy of effort is heartening when one realizes it, but it is a direct result of the fact that rational principles are highly practical.
Protect individual rights consistently. The wolf of big government and the fleas of Islamic terrorism that hitchike in its fur will both be taken care of.