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It’s Time to Abolish the TSA
Catholic Vote Action ^ | 11/15/2010 | Brad Birzer

Posted on 11/15/2010 10:17:37 AM PST by markomalley

One of my students, a brilliant and thoroughly wholesome young woman, Brittany Baldwin, had a very nasty encounter with the TSA this past week.  Sadly, her case is not exceptional.  As a patriot, an American, and a Texan, she wisely recorded the humiliating moment and posted it over at The Imaginative Conservative.

At this point in this post/blog, I must admit two things.  First, I think highly of Brittany any way, but I especially appreciate her honesty in this particular incident.  I also believe her blog posting was a manifestation of her republican (yes, small “r” republican) virtue to hold our government in check in any peaceable way possible.

Second, I must admit I despise (yes, in the name of honesty, I intentionally employ this word) the Transportation Safety Administration, and I have from the moment I first encountered such a federal police force sometime in and around 2002.

For better or worse, I travel all too frequently.  Surely, I thought from the moment I met the TSA, these agents are the descendants of the first federal police force—those empowered by the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, the ones who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the ones who entered free states and re-enslaved black Americans.  While I would never equate the evils of slavery with the evils of being frisked and delayed at an airport, I do believe that each such police force represents a corruption of republican liberty.

While, as a professional historian, I’m sure our government has participated in many worse atrocities, the TSA sticks out as the most symbolic abuse of constitutional liberty at the present moment.  According to the official TSA website:

We are your neighbors, friends and relatives. We are 50,000 security officers, inspectors, directors, air marshals and managers who protect the nation’s transportation systems so you and your family can travel safely. We look for bombs at checkpoints in airports, we inspect rail cars, we patrol subways with our law enforcement partners, and we work to make all modes of transportation safe.

Ok, and have you found one single thing to protect American citizens?  Have you stopped a single terrorist?  Have you protected any single family in the United States from harm?  No, not in the least.

May God bless this man!


As I looked at the official TSA website to prepare for this posting, the motto keeps flashing across the TSA website: “Your safety is our priority.”

I can only laugh at this in bewilderment.  What have they done to protect us?

While I appreciate that we live in a very, very dangerous world, and while I generally respect the FBI, the CIA, and (especially), the Marines (along with the Vatican, the most important institution defending western civilization in existence), I am highly skeptical of the TSA—its intent, its personnel, its future.

As far as I am concerned, they are neither friends nor neighbors.  Should they move in next door, I would most likely shun them, in the way I might shun a former officer of the KGB or Gestapo or any corroborator of either agency.

Do I sound radical?  Perhaps.

But, I’ll play the historian trump card.  I appeal to the meaning of the American Founding, quoting from a pamphlet/broadside now residing in the Clements Library of the University of Michigan:

. . . remember your brave Forefathers, men of whom, the world was not worthy. They purchas’d this Land with much Treasure and Seas of their Blood, let them not in this day rise up and see their posterity less brave, less resolute, and less virtuous. My Countrymen we either must unsheath our Swords or be Slaves.

As Americans, we have just celebrated Veterans’ Day.  Did your fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers offer their very lives on the beaches of Normandy or the trenches of France or along the banks of the Antietam so that 50,000 so-called “agents” of the federal government could grope you in front of your fellow citizens, spouses, and children?  Did my father-in-law, a wonderful patriot, help establish the first American base camp in Cambodia in 1969 so that his daughter and son-in-law, each law abiding citizens, could be frisked by an agent of the TSA?  Do we place flags on the graves of our veterans to celebrate internal checkpoints and documentation demands?

Of course not.

Not until more Americans are willing to say “no” to the invasive procedures and meaningless drama of the TSA will it be restrained.

As it is, the TSA has yet to stop a single terrorist.  Not one. It might or might not have deterred some, but it has yet to stop one actual terrorist.

The TSA has only inconvenienced us, habituated us to oppression, and repeatedly violated our fourth amendment rights.  Each new regulation is more restrictive and reactive than the last, and there’s no end in sight to its reach.

The newest, latest regulations went into effect this week.  The TSA might have, finally, taken things too far, at least from the perspective or the larger American public.  The new regulations demand either a pat down or a full-body scan.

While I believe we must respect each officer of the TSA as a person, I do not believe we should—in any way, shape, or form—respect them as citizens of a free republic.

I don’t know what the solution is.  There was a time when Americans would unhesitatingly assemble and petition against such abuses and atrocities.

In 1854, a group of faculty from my college traveled to Michigan, sat under some trees, and, in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of that same year, formed the Republican Party.  Six years later, their candidate sat in the White House.

It’s that spirit that animated the most recent elections in this country.  Perhaps, that spirit can do more than elect good candidates and prevent the further growth of Leviathan.  Perhaps that spirit even has the power to whittle away at the already existing Leviathan, to roll back its power, not just restrict its future growth.

The repeal of the TSA would go a long way to re-establishing justice and dignity in his country; it might also help us re-secure the blessings of liberty bestowed upon us not by the arbitrary will of our government but by the inestimable gratuitous love of our Father.

Bradley J. Birzer is Russell Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies, Hillsdale College, Michigan.


For more information on the TSA from the mainstream media (verifying that the TSA does nothing more than provide jobs for some, delays for everyone, and constitutional disorder for the United States), see:

Art Carden, Forbes, “Full Frontal Nudity Doesn’t Make Us Safer”

The Atlantic Monthly: “The Things He Carried”

The Economist, “TSA Pat-Downs”

The New York Times, “Flier Patience Wears Thin”

And, especially, the 60 Minutes special on the TSA: “Security Theater.

From the less than mainstream press, but still excellent, see:

Art Carden (same author as above, brilliant), “God Bless the TSA”

Perhaps most disturbing, is the detainment and harassment of a San Diego man, all captured on his cell phone.

TOPICS: Government; Society

1 posted on 11/15/2010 10:17:40 AM PST by markomalley
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To: markomalley

OK, so then dismantle the TSA and discontinue all screenings in airports?

2 posted on 11/15/2010 10:23:12 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: markomalley

Yes, the TSA must be shut down. They aren’t your friends. NOt when they start doing what they are doing. None of my ‘friends’ can grope my junk, make me pose in a criminal stance while seeing a naked picture of me, under the guise of ‘making me safer’, and I can’t say no without them calling me a security threat and not letting me go on my way.

3 posted on 11/15/2010 10:24:06 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: markomalley

TSA foolishness bookmark.

4 posted on 11/15/2010 10:36:36 AM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: Non-Sequitur
OK, so then dismantle the TSA and discontinue all screenings in airports?

Yes, absolutely. As far as physical screenings go. We can track the income of every American and tax them. Why can't we figure out who is or is not a moslem terrorist? Or, at a minimum why can't we pre-screen significant numbers of people then use simple things like a traveling ID that a person can purchase?

If the moslems want to kill big numbers of people why bother with airplanes? There are much better ways to do terror in the US.

The federal government should be protecting the borders, not frisking nuns and kids. They have no right to do that in the first place.

5 posted on 11/15/2010 10:37:15 AM PST by isthisnickcool (Sharia? No thanks.)
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To: markomalley

Sure, because agencies as big as the TSA are abolished all the time. Like when they got rid of, I guess it would be a first.

6 posted on 11/15/2010 10:45:13 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: markomalley

How many passengers are fondled before the TSA agent changes gloves?

7 posted on 11/15/2010 10:53:33 AM PST by NautiNurse (ObamaCare uses Bernie Madoff theory of economics)
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To: isthisnickcool

The answer to the security problem is this:

1. Get rid of Political Correctness
2. Adopt the Israeli methods of airline security
3. Profile like crazy - we know who the bastards are, and they aren’t your grandmother or your 12 year old daughter.

But as a country we are way too chickified to do any of the above.

8 posted on 11/15/2010 11:01:18 AM PST by LifePath
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To: markomalley

Are there any negatives to adopting the Israeli EL Al method of airport screening?

9 posted on 11/15/2010 11:05:08 AM PST by Exit148 (Founder and active member of The Loose Change Club. An easy way to save for Freepathons!)
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To: markomalley

As I’ve written before I believe free enterprise would do a better job than the lousey government as the airlines compete, thus must care about their flying customers experience, and their insurance carriers certainly care about the safety of their assets.

Railroads, and others listed as concerns of the TSA could be privatized as well.

The Federal Government should stop the enemy at the borders dammit. That’s their responsibility. Let’s cleanup the scum from the pond, and dump it on the shores it came from.

The Fed can stop bringing them in. Stop allowing them open borders to cross over, and into our land for their mischeif. Deport the crowd that’s here now. Get control of the problem instead of the strawmen.

10 posted on 11/15/2010 11:12:57 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Non-Sequitur

Yes abolish the TSA, let the airlines set the security standards according to what free private citizens determine they needs be!

11 posted on 11/15/2010 11:18:14 AM PST by bvw
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To: Wolfie

Ask the people who used to work at Chevy and GM dealerships. Or any number of private enterprises government dicta have brutally killed off.

12 posted on 11/15/2010 11:20:12 AM PST by bvw
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To: bvw

Private enterprise? Absolutely. Government shutting down government? No dice.

13 posted on 11/15/2010 11:31:44 AM PST by Wolfie
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: markomalley
For one, even if there were to be a TSA it should have been under either the already existing Dept's of Defense or Transportation, without any regard for a new Dept of Homeland Security, which can make up its own rules and feel autonomous as it goes along.

Furthermore why grope the passengers, and impose guilt and intimidation on every citizen, (ala Michael Chertoff the rabbi's son), rather than just riding the aeroplane?

There are a dozen more respectful ways to safeguard air travel than the insulting arrogant demeaning methods now in force.

This is one of the underlying reasons for which I rejected GWB in his second term: he really did occupy the viewpoint on an elitist, albeit unconsciously. A kind of precursor to the Leftist authoritarian disaster we now experience.

Johnny Suntrade

15 posted on 11/15/2010 11:47:47 AM PST by jnsun (The Left: the need to manipulate others because of nothing productive to offer.)
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To: markomalley

From Thousands Standing Around to Towards Sexual Assault.

16 posted on 11/15/2010 11:50:11 AM PST by NeoCaveman (There. I said it.)
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To: NeoCaveman

Traveler Sexual Assault

17 posted on 11/15/2010 12:30:41 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed ("Nobody tell Barack Obama what number comes after a trillion" --S.P.)
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To: markomalley

Does anyone know if the TSA employees who process people through security and conduct these pat frisks have Peace Officer status? In order to work in my 25 years career as a prison guard for NY State, I had to attend the academy, and pass the required Municipal Police Training Course. Only after successfully completing this training was I given Peace Officer status, and allowed to carry a badge. In order to keep that status, I had to undergo yearly training courses, and re-qualify at the range once-a-year. Does anyone know what specific training the government requires of these people, and if it legally qualifies them to the job?

18 posted on 11/15/2010 12:39:24 PM PST by mass55th (Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway...John Wayne)
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To: mass55th

No, they are not law enforcement agents in any way. In fact, when they started wearing that fake patch that looks like a badge the feds had to immediately state that TSA employees are not federal agents or law enforcement agents of any kind.

19 posted on 11/16/2010 3:04:29 AM PST by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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