7-16-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Security" vs. the Fourth Amendment

A court regarded as friendly to the Fourth Amendment has, unfortunately, ruled that TSA body scans are constitutional:

Judge Douglas Ginsburg writes that the advance imaging technology is not unreasonable given the security concerns on airplanes, and that people have the option to opt out for a ... patdown.
In other words, the choice of a different unreasonable search makes any given unreasonable search reasonable.

As with a freedom of speech suit a few years ago, this is the kind of issue that a proper, private system of airline security measures would completely preempt: Whatever security measures (including body scans) a given airline chose to take would be part of a voluntary transaction between an airline and its customers, rather than government force inappropriately directed at private, noncriminal citizens.

Weekend Reading

"[W]hatever influence Rand might have had on [Paul] Ryan's goal .. one thing is for sure: Her arguments have been conspicuously absent in the budget debate." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, in "What’s Missing From The Budget Debate" at Forbes

"Collectivizing American doctors will fail as badly as collectivizing Soviet farmers." -- Paul Hsieh, in "The Coming Collectivization of American Health Care" at Pajamas Media

"The idea that only government can address poverty or medical research is false, and the philosophy clearly institutionalizes mob rule." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Ailing Economy Needs Self-Interest, Not Sacrifice" at SmartMoney

"If everyone took care of themselves first, there'd be a lot less pity, along with the truly selfish contempt that it implies." -- Michael Hurd, in "Achieve Your Own Happiness First" at DrHurd.com

My Two Cents

I regard the Brook and Watkins article as one of their best, especially in terms of taking advantage of a golden opportunity to bring Ayn Rand's ethical positions into the national debate.

Almost Time to Roll

Partly to celebrate a technology-related consulting gig and partly to improve my professional image, I bought a smart phone last week. Since this model's reviews were all either really good or really bad, I found a vendor that wouldn't charge me a re-stocking fee and made my purchase on the premise that, if the bad reviews proved true (i.e., this model's connectivity problems were still unresolved), I could return it and go with my second choice.

I've a few days to go testing it out, but I'm beginning to look forward to rooting the phone (along with a few other setup tasks), importing my contacts from a spreadsheet (Yes. My previous phone is that old.), and installing a variety of applications, including the tools to make the thing my smallest Linux box yet.

-- CAV


Andrew Dalton said...

"rather than government force inappropriately directed at private, noncriminal citizens."

I should add that if our government were fulfilling its proper role in actually destroying foreign enemies, it would not have the perpetual "we are at war" excuse for the mandatory security measures (which amount to our government's choice to fight its "war" against us).

Gus Van Horn said...

Very well put. I completely agree.