Skip to main content

TSA: Walmart Greeters With Badges


Taxpayers may blush when they learn that their $8 billion-per-year Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is hardly satisfying its purported mission of protecting the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. According to a June 2015 report by the Huffington Post, the TSA has failed 95 percent of airport security tests conducted by Homeland Security. Corroborating this story, ABC News reported that undercover investigators revealed security failures at dozens of the nation's busiest airports, successfully smuggling mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials.  

Oddly yet unsurprisingly, the Transportation Security Administration conveniently dismisses rules — such as the removal of shoes, belts, and jackets, the separation of laptops from luggage, and the use of bins — when these shortcuts suit their whims. One may then wonder how many of these perceived rules have spawned from the traditions of TSA workers who were, in the strictest sense, operating merely from their own discretion, suspicions, and loose interpretations of their respective positions. 

The make-work only seems to fester within these busy-bodied organizations of ambiguous ends. Even the queue now falls under the systemic scrutiny of TSA agents full of Walmart-style greetings, multi-billion-dollar smiles, and the childish curiosity of unskilled adults trained to swipe hands to determine whether travelers are fit to roam the airport and board an airplane, all with only a perfunctory understanding of technical indicators supposedly capable of achieving these ends. 

While swiping my hands today, the TSA agent wished to engage me in conversation. When did this become compulsory? He was conspicuously confused and displeased with my silence, resorting to harsher, more demanding tones upon my continued silence despite his repeated attempts to buy my efforts, my words, and something more than my obedience, probably to reconcile the discomfort of unfounded authority into which his employment has placed him. 

Complementing the scene of organized incompetence is a K9 unit which strolls about the aisles, seemingly successful only in disrupting the gaits of eager travelers who, despite understanding the futility of the TSA, tolerate the inconvenience because their fellow travelers are willing or because the marginal costs of resisting outweigh any probability of benefit, or to serve the long-shot chance that their minor inconvenience will enable the TSA to thwart that next terror threat, despite a tested record showing otherwise. 

Part of the reason why so many people are willing to work for or endure the processes of the TSA is related to the continued deference and social payment of smiles and gratitude issued to those who work for this fruitless agency. They earn far more in the social graces shared with them than they earn on their paychecks, but the combination comfortably warrants the per-capita ease of the sufferable masquerade. In due time, however, the theater will become more tangible and more vast, eventually reaching you before you even arrive at the airport — some of this is already happening

With each forced smile, uncomfortable discussion, swiped hand, and groping agent, we surrender our personal dignity and our liberty to favor a notion which presupposes that each individual is a criminal until cleared by a higher authority. The TSA has proven to be nothing more than a modern boondoggle. 

Let’s free its workers to contribute to the lives of its donors instead of forcing Americans to pay for a service to which they never consented. The TSA is yet another example of the progression from physical, apparent slavery to its psychological, more palatable counterpart of assumed responsibility and taxation. This isn’t progress at all. What's more, it's unconstitutional.
 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

America's Civil War: Not "Civil" and Not About Slavery

Virtually the entirety of South and Central America, as well as European powers Britain, Spain and France, peacefully abolished slavery — without war — in the first sixty years of the nineteenth century.  Why, then, did the United States enter into a bloody war that cost over half of the nation’s wealth, at least 800,000 lives and many hundreds of thousands more in casualties?  The answer: the War Between the States was not about slavery.  It was a war of invasion to further empower the central government and to reject state sovereignty, nullification of unconstitutional laws, and the states’ rights to secession.  It was a war that would cripple the South and witness the federal debt skyrocket from $65 million in 1860 to $2.7 billion in 1865, whose annual interest alone would prove twice as expensive as the entire federal budget from 1860. Likewise, it was a war that would witness a five-fold increase in the number of civilians employed by the federal government, as federal gove

Cullen Roche's Not So "Pragmatic Capitalism"

In his riveting new work Pragmatic Capitalism , Cullen Roche, founder of Orcam Financial Group, a San Diego-based financial firm, sets out to correct the mainstream schools of economic thought, focusing on  Keynesians, Monetarists, and Austrians alike. This new macroeconomic perspective claims to reveal What Every Investor Needs to Know About Money and Finance . Indeed, Roche introduces the layman to various elementary principles of economics and financial markets, revealing in early chapters the failed state of the average hedge fund and mutual fund operators -- who are better car salesmen than financial pundits, Roche writes --  who have fallen victim to the group think phenomenon, spawning the nearly perfect positive correlation to the major indexes, and thus, accounting for tax, inflation, and service adjustments, holistically wiping out any value added by their supposed market insight.  Roche also references popular studies, such as the MckInsey Global Institute's report whi

The Evils of Facebook in the War Against Reason

Facebook is one of the greatest frauds whereby thoughtless friends share or tacitly embrace ideas which, in doing so, adds personal, relatable flair to messages being distributed from largely unknown reporters.  In effect, these friends then subject a wider community to the thought that since their friends are supportive of such ideas, then they ought to carry some merit or authenticity.  Facebook commits a great disservice to communication, serving primarily to subject meaningful dialogue to inherently-binary measures of laudability or contemptibility.  Whereas scientific evaluation serves to extract emotion, Facebook serves to embolden the fallacy-ridden supposition that fact follows fanfare, that truth trails trendiness, and that democratic participation (by way of “likes” or “shares”) can reliably support truth or sustainably produce virtue. What's more, Facebook and other social media sites tend also to further the fallacy that the last breath, or more precisely the f