"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stupid Non-Story

Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky, was turned away from his flight out of Nashville by the TSA because he refused a pat-down after he set off the metal detector.   His father, Ron Paul, is making a big deal out of it, calling the TSA a manifestation our how the U.S. is becoming a "police state."  
Rand Paul the younger actually has a decent Constitutional argument that, as a member of Congress, he's exempt from these kinds of regulations, since the Constitution expressly says that "They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same."   The problem for a Tea Party Republican, however, is that members of Congress claiming exemption from the laws that the rest of us have to follow is probably the thing Tea Partiers hate the most.  

Look, no one likes the TSA hassles at the airport.   It's probably fairly useless in terms of stopping terrorist attacks, and, even if it were, the cost in money and man-hours may not be worth it.*  But it's the law for now, and Rand Paul should have just been very polite to the TSA officers, let them pat him down, made some small joke about it, and gone on with his day.   That's what I do, and I've found that the experience of air travel is much more pleasant.  

*If that sounds cold, think about it.   We could stop all terrorist attacks on planes easily -- just make it illegal to fly.   Does anyone want that?   Of course not.   So we've already decided that air travel is worth some risk.   The question, as with everything else (including health care) is simply how much risk are we willing to take and when do the costs of avoiding risk outweigh the risk itself.   

No comments:

Post a Comment