TSA Not Precautionary Principle

by Wesley J. Smith

I know I am a minority voice in this discussion–a role I seem genetically predisposed to playing. But I feel as if I am at a shark jumping festival here at The Corner.

As I stated previously, I didn’t intend to mount a general defense of the TSA, merely state that doing away with the “nude scanners” was a mistake. I have seen nothing in the reactions from Mark, Mario, Kevin, and Rick Warren (via Kathryn) even intended to dissuade me of my views. It seems to me, fellows, you haven’t actually dealt with the scanners. “Rape machines!” says Rick Warren. Please. Someone sees me naked! They don’t know who I am and who cares anyway? It’s an image seen in another room and the screener can’t see my face. An agent might joke about my physique!  So does my wife. Fire them, if caught, but I’ll live, which I might not do if someone sneaks a ceramic knife past the metal detectors. Or should we do away with those too? 

Airport security is the opposite of the precautionary principle, which, roughly stated, holds that any evidence–or I would say, mere allegation–of potential harm shifts the burden of proof to the alleged causers of the conjectured harm, rather than on those who wish to legally restrict an enterprise or activity. The PC–a favorite tool of radical environmentalists–seeks to thwart wealth creation based on fear instead of actual evidence. To borrow a Rush maxim, with the PC, it is the seriousness of the allegation that matters, not whether it is actually true.

But the threats our airports and airlines face aren’t conjectural. They aren’t made up. They aren’t vague. Nor are they debatable. Whatever other errors our government might have made when establishing the TSA, it did not apply the precautionary principle. 

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