It is amusing to hear right-wing media hosts rail about TSA’s body scans as an extension of the Obama socialist agenda and as an environmental health hazard. It was of course the Bush Administration and its supporters in neo-con think tanks that hyped the idea that the U.S. is under civilizational threat from Islamic terrorism and that created the bureaucracies whose primary function is to respond to the Islamic menace, which therefore can never be deemed to have been exagerrated. Maybe a Bush Administration adoption of body scans would have provoked the same resistance from the right, but I doubt it. Nevertheless, any push-back against the idea that we need ever more stringent security measures is welcome. (I haven’t heard what the right-wing media is offering as an alternative to the body scans, but I would guess that they are calling again for profiling the hell out of Islamic passengers. That’s a logical idea in theory, the problem is that it is nearly unworkable in practice.) As for myself, I have yet to encounter an intrusion that breaches my privacy threshold and couldn’t care less about these scans from a privacy perspective. But I object to the burdens on commerce that they impose and to the “Be Afraid” message that they send out. It would be nice if the right wing stood up for rationality and true risk assessment. There have been scores of deaths in American workplaces over the last year from psychopaths and zero deaths anywhere in the U.S. from Islamic terrorists. Ditto in every of the preceding 9 years. As for auto fatalities, don’t get me started. If we went back to pre-9/11 airport security measures, my guess is that flying would still be far safer than driving.
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