Vanity Fair’s Charles C. Mann walked through Reagan International Airport with Bruce Schneier, noting all the ways in which “security” adds expense and inconvenience without making us safer. By the end of the trip, he concluded:
To walk through an airport with Bruce Schneier is to see how much change a trillion dollars can wreak. So much inconvenience for so little benefit at such a staggering cost. And directed against a threat that, by any objective standard, is quite modest. Since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have killed just 17 people on American soil, all but four of them victims of an army major turned fanatic who shot fellow soldiers in a rampage at Fort Hood. (The other four were killed by lone-wolf assassins.) During that same period, 200 times as many Americans drowned in their bathtubs. Still more were killed by driving their cars into deer. The best memorial to the victims of 9/11, in Schneier’s view, would be to forget most of the “lessons” of 9/11. “It’s infuriating,” he said, waving my fraudulent boarding pass to indicate the mass of waiting passengers, the humming X-ray machines, the piles of unloaded computers and cell phones on the conveyor belts, the uniformed T.S.A. officers instructing people to remove their shoes and take loose change from their pockets. “We’re spending billions upon billions of dollars doing this—and it is almost entirely pointless. Not only is it not done right, but even if it was done right it would be the wrong thing to do.”
A nice dissection of how we have become an increasingly militarized country, willing to give up civil liberties for a semblance of security – even if that security is paper thin or ineffectual.
We have become the country Ben Franklin warned about. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
We gave up essential liberties and are well on the way to losing all of them.
I see no political leaders of either party swimming against the current tide of fear and do not expect things to change for quite some time, if ever.
My only solace is that we had a similar period of outright rejection of essential liberties following WWI, with both Democrats and Republicans coming together to pass various sedition acts.
They seem to be collaborating again. It sure would be nice to have some patriots like the Founding Fathers who treasured the Constitution over their own aggrandizement. Our current government is a bunch of ants clambering over the deep footprints of our predecessors.
I do not feel this will end well.