The State has always pretended that taxation somehow differs from outright robbery – though if anyone steals from it what it plundered from us, it denounces him as a thief.
Ditto for the TSA. It euphemizes its sexual assault on passengers as “a thorough pat-down” and insists that its depredations protect us. But on the very rare occasions (only two of which I’m aware in the decade of the agency’s existence) when victims have retaliated, Our Rulers arrested and charged them. John “The Pervert” Pistole, Chief Deviant at the TSA, even accused one heroine of “grop[ing]” her assailant. So the TSA itself admits its criminality when its goons are on the receiving end.
Sexual assault on such a massive and routine scale is unprecedented, even for the organized gangs of criminals we call government. Certainly, armies have always raped and assaulted during war; potentates who encouraged their subjects to own one another legalized the rapes, public nudity and other atrocities that characterize chattel slavery; the Nazis stripped and sexually humiliated the inmates of their concentration camps, just as governments worldwide continue to do to the “criminals” in their prisons. But no regime anywhere, however brutal or totalitarian, has ever decreed that every traveler, even the most timid and law-abiding, subject himself to official pawing.
America once offered the world such marvels as the incandescent light-bulb, haven for refugees, assembly-line efficiency, and economic freedom—limited, true, but more than just about anywhere else. Now we blaze trails to nationwide sexual assault for peaceable people. Why? How can this possibly be legal, let alone Constitutional, as clowns in gowns repeatedly rule? The Fourth Amendment’s absolute ban on “unreasonable search and seizure”—which certainly prohibits the TSA’s hijinks—is so clear that even the Supreme Court’s imbeciles should be able to understand it.
Indeed, that clarity is precisely why Progressive politicians and bureaucrats crusaded to repeal the Constitution from the late nineteenth century until the 1940’s, when they finally succeeded. They didn’t call it “repeal,” of course. Theodore Roosevelt pretended he was “better[ing] … our social or industrial conditions” when he damned the Constitution’s limited government as “a bit of outworn academic doctrine.” And Woodrow Wilson praised a hyperactive, centralized State for bringing “light” and “order” to the benighted private sphere. Meanwhile, other Progressives like Margaret Sanger advanced one of the philosophy’s most cherished means, eugenics, to its most cherished end, perfected humanity. By the late 1930’s, that “science” had not only spawned laws compelling certain less-than-perfect Americans to be sterilized, it had also disgorged the first of World War II’s concentration camps as German admirers tried to rid their continent of “useless eaters.”
Progressives broke with America’s libertarian, self-reliant history and tradition to despise the individual. He was uncouth, hopelessly ignorant and stupid, dirty and in desperate need of “experts” and “leaders” to save him from himself. These rescuers reside in government, which Progressives worship as the best and only means for reforming men. Ergo, bureaucracies minutely supervising every detail of the Great Unwashed’s life sprang up faster than heads on Hydra under Progressive administrations. When Franklin Roosevelt signed the Administrative Procedures Act into law, he codified the bureaucratic stranglehold on Americans. The legislation’s title also incorporated one of the two dodges under which all agencies now function.
First, Our Rulers contend that bureaucracies are “administrative,” not criminal. Yes, you can go to jail for defying a regulation, as our two ladies above and countless other victims prove. But protecting, not punishing, you is a bureaucracy’s primary purpose. It has your best interests at heart, even when it fines you, trespasses on your property, raises the cost of your medicines, gasoline, food and cosmetics, or molests you at checkpoints. Its benevolent sages know better than you about everything, whether it’s how you should educate your children or the amount of water your toilet should flush. We mere mortals can only listen and learn.
Second, bureaucracies exercise power Congress has “delegated” to them. Never mind that the Constitution permits no such “delegation,” indeed, that it specifically requires only the House and Senate to pass all legislation (even if we rename it “regulation”). Equally egregious, Congress has nothing to delegate: the Constitution never empowers it over transportation in general or airlines in particular, let alone the myriad other activities bureaucracies control.
But try reminding any politician or judge – or even the poor slobs forced to finance the bureaucracies – of these facts. Administrative law’s triumph under FDR was so complete that no one questions the premises anymore, not even the serfs directly in the crosshairs.
Administrative law deliberately and by design empowers Our Rulers; the Constitution just as deliberately and by design restrains them. If we hope to abolish the TSA, we must reject the entire administrative racket.
June 7, 2012
Becky Akers (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) writes primarily about the American Revolution. Her novel set during the war will be published this summer.
Copyright © 2012 by Americans for Travel Freedom. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.