Forfeiting Liberty

Who would have believed that American citizens would voluntarily subject themselves to one of two offensive options in order to board an airplane:

a) Be electronically strip-searched and exposed to risky radiation, or

b) Have your body, including your genitals, felt by a government employee?

If you are not willing to be subjected to potentially dangerous doses of radiation and having your body, in all of its glory, presented to some stranger watching a screen, or you are not willing to be sexually assaulted, you cannot board an airplane in the United States.

We have not only reached the height of absurdity, but we have gradually surrendered our sense of who we are, and our liberty, to an over-reaching government that has no compunction about violating the Bill of Rights, and our Constitution.

Let me begin this discussion by saying that it is very clear that neither full body display scans nor some government employee feeling your body is going to prevent a determined terrorist from getting explosives on board a plane. This whole exercise by Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security is designed to make everyone feel like the government is doing something to protect its citizens, when, in fact, it is not.

Instead of looking for potential weapons the proper procedure would be to look for potential terrorists.

Frightening a three year old child or doing a body pat-down of a nun is not doing anything to protect American citizens, it is, instead, showing the power of the government to control your life and subject you to humiliation and to being demeaned. Subjecting American citizens to what would be sexual assault if it were done by anyone other than a government employee is the beginning of a police state.

The absurdity of forcing pilots – pilots, who fly our planes, to be subjected to this intrusive scrutiny shows the complete lack of common sense being used by our government. Israel, for example, doesn’t even use metal detectors at their terminals. They know that metal detectors, body scanners or body feels will not prevent terrorist activity.

Israel profiles potential terrorists. They know who is likely to be a potential terrorist. That does not include pilots, children or nuns. If you fit the profile of a potential terrorist, you are called into an office and you have a conversation with a security representative of El Al Airlines. They are very adept at figuring out who is a likely threat. They have never had a terrorist incident.

We need some common sense. The DHS should be identifying who potential terrorists may be, and putting them through intense scrutiny, and not subjecting the rest of American citizens to this process.

The fact is that potential terrorists are most likely men who are Muslim jihadists, and perhaps Muslim women, who want to do harm to those of us in the West who are not Muslim. The irony of this whole absurdity is that Muslim women and some Muslim men will be exempted from either a pat-down or the full body scan. Seriously?

But the worst thing about this process is what we, as citizens, are willing to accept in this country which was founded on the basis of Liberty.

Daniel Greenfield explains that we have developed a “siege” mentality.

To understand what that is, we first need to understand why things are the way they are. Security measures at airports are a defensive measure. And a society on the defense develops a siege mentality. In a society under siege, civil rights quickly go by the wayside. The longer the siege goes on, the more rights vanish, never to be recovered again, as people adopt the siege mentality. “If you don’t want to die, then just cooperate with the authorities”, is the byword of the siege mentality.

There is a very simple reason why we need airline security. Because we have Muslims living in the United States, and traveling to the United States. Unlike the old leftist terrorists, Muslim terrorists like to kill everyone on board and use the planes as weapons too. That makes the consequences of allowing them to succeed completely unacceptable. But we have spent so much time talking about the consequences, that we refuse to admit what the problem is.

American authorities refuse to admit there is any specific group that is responsible for terrorist acts. So, in place of that we treat everyone as if they were terrorists.

Greenfield states it accurately.

America is caught in a War of Terror with no end in sight, because we won’t admit who the enemy is. Instead we engage in appeasement. We keep reaching out to all the world’s Muslims, hoping to convince them to stop trying to kill us. We humiliate our own citizens. We learn to be afraid of our aircraft. Boarding a plane becomes a suicide pact, as we accept that the air force will shoot us down, if we are hijacked. And as time goes on, it will only get worse. We have still not even begun to learn the real meaning of terror.

The basic problem comes down to this. We have failed to put Islam on the defensive. We did briefly after 9/11, but no more. Today and for the last ten years, we have been on the defensive. Islam has been on the offensive. If we want our lives back. If we want our countries back. And if we want to fly without fear, then we have to change that. We have to put Muslims on the defensive. Or go on living under siege.

We are willing to allow ourselves to be abused, and subjected to unreasonable searches because we feel we are under siege, and that the government knows best. Did we forget that our founders created a Bill of Rights that gives us the right to prevent our government from taking such action?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in the cause of defending our liberty. Are we willing to simply forfeit that liberty?

Benjamin Franklin once said that those who are willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither. They’ll also get neither.

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Cross-posted at Modern Conservative