Victims’ enthusiasm for “privatizing” the Transportation Security Administration is understandable: no one sexually assaults us when we shop at a private store, dine in a private restaurant, or worship in a private church. Only government is evil enough to gate-rape taxpayers and then insult our intelligence by claiming such molestation “protects” us.
But passengers aren’t the only ones clamoring for the TSA to “privatize”: politicians are too, everyone – or at least everyone who’s Republican – from Rep. John Mica (R-FL) to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Heck, privatization even made the party’s platform at the Republican convention last week (under “Protecting Travelers and their Rights: Reforming the TSA for Security and Privacy,” Our Rulers announce that they’re “call[ing] for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible…” [emphasis added]. That’s what I like: a ringing condemnation of pedophilia and theft without any pusillanimous qualifications).
The fact that not only individual politicians but an entire group of them lauds “privatization” is our first clue that it isn’t nearly as beneficial as we assume. In fact, Our Masters, think-tanks, the media and even decent people currently use the word to mean “governmental control of industry.”
The State and its cheerleaders euphemize that stranglehold as a “partnership,” as in “public-private partnerships.” Which is sorta like a prostitute’s “partnership” with her pimp: the instant she disobeys or displeases him, pow. Government holds all the cards in the privatizing game. Its trillion-dollar budgets are enough to bring any corporation, even the largest and wealthiest, to heel – with its tongue hanging to the floor at thought of such an unimaginably rich client. And in the exceedingly rare event that money doesn’t talk, threats of lawsuits – and, possibly, prison terms for CEOs – or enforcement of crippling regulations shout volumes. Ironically, Progressives, feminists, and other reformers so quick to condemn “inequality” in personal relationships prize it in “public-private partnerships”: they assume that their god, Government, will restrain “greedy” businessmen rather than cooperate with cronies. Yet entrepreneur after entrepreneur lines up for his share of our taxes and freedom, all enticingly wrapped in a lucrative federal contract.
“Privatization” among passengers has become code for “end the TSA’s depredations on us.” They want safe flights, of course, but they’re enraged at the TSA’s groping and invasions of privacy; its endless humiliations both large and petty; its theft and deception; its senseless cruelty. Few have pondered how to achieve security in aviation without these offenses; if they have, they generally advocate “private” screeners searching us under the TSA’s supervision. The government will set the standards and parameters because we don’t trust “private” airlines to do so, but “private” screeners will implement the Feds’ policies because we don’t trust the government to do so.
Most passengers don’t realize that this is precisely the situation prevailing on 9/11 – in fact, the situation that produced 9/11. Since aviation’s inception in the early twentieth century, government has nationalized more and more aspects of the industry, whether it’s air-traffic control, financing (airlines constantly receive subsidies from our taxes – then clamor for more), or regulating the design and function of aircraft. The Feds began invading aviation’s security in the late 1960’s; by 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration minutely mandated every detail of it, from decreeing checkpoints in airports to the guns screeners must confiscate from passengers or the box-cutters they could not.
The TSA merely brought this control into the open. Yes, it also replaced “private” screeners with federal ones at the insistence of Congressional Democrats (who hoped to hand the tens of thousands of new hires to their buddies in the unions – and did so this year.) But that makes no practical difference to passengers: private or public, screeners always fulfill the commands of federal bureaucrats because federal bureaucrats ordained the entire unconstitutional scheme of mass, warrantless searches. Had the FAA ordered sexual assault in 1976 on the preposterous presumption that it would prevent skyjacking, “private” perverts would have pawed passengers then just as the TSA’s do now.
Nor do I write theoretically. The arrangement of “private” screeners manhandling passengers at the TSA’s direction actually exists now at 17 airports across the country. Have you flown through any of them? “Well, how would I know?” you ask. Indeed.
San Francisco International “is the nation’s largest privately [sic] protected airport and a poster child for privatization,” says the San Francisco Examiner. And its article alleges the same sort of insouciance from these “private” screeners as from their public counterparts: “…dozens if not hundreds of bags identified by X-ray machines as high-risk bomb threats are loaded onto planes each day without any human inspection in a clear violation of federal rules.”
Yeah, and in a clear violation of Akers’ Rules To Ward Off Tigers in New York City, my husband doesn’t stomp his feet and holler “BOO!” before leaving our apartment. Some nonsense is so absurd no one heeds it, even when paid to do so. Adding to the farce, the TSA “investigated” its lax lackeys, then huffed that while it “determined the application of screening procedures was not consistently applied [in San Francisco], … passengers’ safety was not compromised.” My husband’s noticed the same thing: though he never shouts “BOO!”, no tigers compromise his safety. “So why don’t you restore marital harmony and quit demanding such lunacy?” the sensible person asks.
Whether our taxes directly pay the TSA’s thugs or whether the agency funnels our money through a “private” accomplice doesn’t matter. Ending the TSA’s reign of terror requires ending the TSA. Nothing else – not reform, nor weeding out “bad” screeners, nor the sham of “privatization” – will free us from this vile agency.
Abolish the TSA.
Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian. Her novel of the American Revolution is available in paperback or for Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony, or your computer.)
Copyright © 2012 by Americans for Travel Freedom. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.