Monday, November 22, 2010

The impending death of the concept of the individual

The latest uproar over intrusive search procedures by the TSA at airports is just another step in a possibly irreversible trend in America and other societies. LINK Thanks to the Enlightenment, Civil Rights, and other movements, human beings came to be viewed as individual beings entitled to rights and to be treated with dignity and respect. Authoritarian government was rejected. Obviously, some intrusions can be justified. However, the cumulative effects of both justified and unjustified intrusions will have dire consequences. Because of a number of factors, including mass culture, mass society, fear of crime and terrorism, huge, paternalistic governments and unethical corporations, those values are being lost. The individual will no longer be valued as a citizen, voter and taxpayer. Individuals will come to be viewed by government as clients, people in need of help and protection against bad choices such as diet, recreation, etc. Increasingly everyone will be viewed as a potential criminal or terrorist.. Freedom of choice in important matters will disappear. Mass processing and the assembly lines will be how most individuals are dealt with. Welcome to the cattle pen and the cattle prod! 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 will no longer be viewed as scare tactics.


  1. Because of the unforgiving nature of manned flight, all attempts to reduce risks is prudent. But those actions must be practical. For example, who has a history for packing destructive explosive devices onto airplanes? Beep! you're right. I'd rather see bomb sniffing dogs and passive heat imagery surveillance. These measures alone would provide a level of deterrence for any wannabe martyr. And if such self proclaimed "Jihadist" is caught making an attempt or actually boarding a civilian air carrier, they should be granted their death wish. Load him or her up along with their "junk" and deliver them to our enemy's doorstep courtesy of a U.S. Air Force bomber crew. What? Why of course with a parachute. That and an altitude sensitive detonation switch.

  2. If we are not talking with the Israelis about the essential ingredients for ensuring commercial aviation security, then we are attempting to reinvent a very delicate wheel with enormous consequences for failure . . . they have had it down for decades. The difference is easy to spot ---- compare staffing.

  3. I agree with Ridgway. The problem with America's approach to security is what the Israelis call the "human factor". Their efforts go beyond high tech screening methods. They mix plain clothes in with passengers to observe and gather necessary intelligence. These hidden guards are also well armed to deal with actual threats. Israeli uniformed security is trained to assess people's response to multiple questions about their travel. I still say dogs are one of the best proven deterrents. Personally, I'd like to see concealed carry permit holders encouraged to bring their personal sidearms on-board. For the purpose of flight safety, I wouldn't have an issue requiring training with certificate before allowing CCW on-board.