TSA Examiner


Since the late 1960s, the law has required all airline passeners to pass through an X-ray metal detector. This followed a series of hijackings in which handguns were used to compel pilots to change course, notably to Cuba, after the Federal Government prohibited travel to Cuba.

Since 2001 when Islamic fundamentalists carried out their well-known attack, that scrutiny has intensified as you know, and now consists of a full-body scan or a thorough pat-down, both of which are widely regarded - and resented - as highly intrusive. That is your job. Is it honest?

The question isn't easy to answer. Passengers resent it - much more than they allow you to see; one report says the TSA is now as deeply hated as the IRS, yet it's been in existence only a tenth as long! Yet passengers also know that there is a real danger that some suicidal malcontent might smuggle explosives aboard in his underwear, and so that such searches may be "necessary." And they all choose to fly, it's not compelled. So perhaps your scrutiny is part of a deal they undertook voluntarily. If that's all true, your job is honest.

But it's not all true. Those Cuba-bound hijackers acted because of a government prohibition. The 9/11 killers murdered to retaliate against six decades of US Government support for the State of Israel, which displaced Muslim Palestinians. Thus, the dangers against which your work is designed to protect people were themselves generated by government action; they are not "natural" dangers. Nobody kills himself - or anyone else - without a purpose, and if a person is suicidal he does not, absent a strong reason, kill other people at the same time. To do that takes a perverted mind, yes, but also a powerful motive.

Even so, you might feel, that government provocation is a fact; Muslim resentment exists, and meanwhile people want to fly, so it's proper to protect them by doing all we can to prevent weapons being carried aboard. However, that misses the point. Government is the party that both stimulates the hostility and then arranges the protection! Why not just take it out of the equation, and so cancel both the provocation and the protection?

That's the proper solution, the one proposed here. Terminate the State Department so that there could be no foreign policy to aggravate any foreign interest, so there will be no terrorism against which airline passengers need your protection. But still, you may reply, that's all very fine but meanwhile why should I not do my job? The answer is that by doing your job you are helping perpetuate the problem. Government will not cause itself to vanish - or even terminate its State Department - so long as you are willing to bail it out at the boarding gate. By quitting your job, on the other hand, you will help oblige it to revert to that proper and correct reform. The world will be a vastly more peaceful place when it has done so, and to help that day come sooner will greatly boost your self-esteem.

Self-esteem is a vital part of life. We all need a purpose, a raison d'Ítre, a way to feel pride in what we have been able to accomplish, a basis for ambition to achieve more in future.

Working for government undermines your basis for self-esteem. Make a clean break; offer your skills elsewhere. Get an honest job - even if at first you have to take a pay cut. You'll not regret it; at life's end you will look back in pride and pleasure, and be able to say, "I helped build that!"

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