The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewRon Paul Archive
Shut Down the TSA!
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Hard as it is to believe, airline travel recently became even more unpleasant. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees being required to work without pay for the duration of the government shutdown resulted in many TSA workers calling in sick. The outbreak of “shutdown flu” among TSA employees forced some large airports to restrict the number of places mandatory TSA screenings were performed, making going through screening even more time-consuming and providing one more reason to shut down the TSA.

Airline security should be provided by airlines and airports. Private businesses, such as airlines, have an incentive to ensure their customers’ safety without treating them like criminal suspects or worse. Security personnel hired by, and accountable to, airlines would not force a nursing mother to drink her own breast milk or steal a stuffed lamb from a wheelchair-using three-year-old and subject the child to such an intensive screening that she cries “I don’t want to go to Disneyworld.” Those who claim that the TSA is necessary to keep us safe should consider that the Department of Homeland Security’s own studies show that TSA’s screenings and even the intrusive pat-downs are ineffective at discovering hidden guns, explosives, and other weapons.

TSA employees have no incentives to please, or even care about the well-being of, airline passengers. Instead, their jobs depend on pleasing politicians and bureaucrats. If we have learned anything since 9/11, it is that most politicians are more concerned with appearing to be “doing something” about security than actually reducing the risk of terrorist attacks. That is why politicians’ response to 9/11 was a series of actions — such as creating the TSA, passing the PATRIOT Act, and invading Iraq — that trade our real liberties for phantom security. Sometimes, pro-TSA politicians will bemoan the TSA’s “excesses” and even call for “reforming” the agency in order to pretend they care about their constituents’ rights.

Restoring responsibility for providing security to private businesses will encourage the development of new and innovative ways to more effectively provide security. In a free market, airlines and airports could compete for business on the basis that their flights are safer or their screening is less unpleasant then that of their competitors. If airlines were able to set their own security policies, they would likely allow pilots to carry firearms.

Private companies also strive to be consistent in providing services. Therefore, a company providing private security would never inconvenience its customers because of a “temporary shutdown.”

Because government operations are funded by coercive taxation rather than voluntary choices of consumers, federal officials cannot rely on the price system to inform them of whether they need to increase or decrease spending on airline security. In the private sector, businesses that charge more for security — or any other good or service — than individuals are willing to pay lose customers. Also, if businesses do not spend enough on security, people concerned about safety will be unwilling to use their services. Privatizing airline security is the only way to ensure that the “correct” amount of resources is being spent on airline safety.

In the 18 years since Congress created the TSA, the agency has proven itself incapable of providing real security, but more than capable of harrying Americans and wasting taxpayer dollars on security theater. Congress should permanently close the TSA and return responsibility for security to private businesses.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
Hide 13 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:

    Trump should get rid of the TSA and Homeland Security. There was no problem with security agencies we had before 911 and they were effective in what they were doing. After 911, the US government used it as an excuse to turn the US into a police state. The excessive government powers that we have suffered under for the past 18 years need to go and we need to return to sanity. Rather than this stupid wall which will never be effective (even if built) we should concentrate on instant deportations and a zero tolerance policy on illegal immigrants. Once it got back to potential illegals that the US government meant business, there would be far fewer trying to get in. If a wall is built, ways will be found how to get around it, like coming across the northern border which is 5000 miles long and not 1500 like our southern border. Another problem that needs to be addressed is, why are these people coming here? Our government should try to promote ways of creating wealth in the countries where the economic refugees are coming from by sponsoring governments that have business-friendly policies that invite foreign investment and create jobs. Many third-world countries suffer from what I call the “Philippine syndrome”, where a few powerful crony-capitalists control almost all of the productive industry in a country. Nothing can get done without mountains of red tape and the greasing of palms all around. If the Philippines had the economic freedom of Taiwan, they would’ve also become an “Asian Tiger” with a high standard of living instead of being 125th in the world. The same goes for many Latin American countries. Costa Rica and Panama are shining examples.

  2. SafeNow says:

    I agree about TSA. And I will elaborate upon Disclaimer’s migration comments because there is a connection. Burgos of Harvard has written: We wanted workers, but we got people. Here in California, I see a replacement culture that is not only less proficient and less conscientious, but also, less polite. Both the TSA culture and the migrant culture are often supercilious, sanctimonious, and grave. They do not accept smiles. The Ivy League has spoken on this; they prefer thugginess and funkiness, and reject decency. All if this can be contagious. Eliminate TSA. Thc TSA people can find work at DMV or at medical front offices.

  3. TSA workers strategically lack common sense when assessing threats. They target the weakest, most helpless people because it’s easy, much easier than confronting the young, strappin’ males who might be able to give them some resistance, possibly accusing them of racism, aggressively, in a foreign language. This caused them to famously target an elderly, white, former professional in a wheel-chair, humiliating her by forcing her to take off her Depends.

    That said, TSA workers got their jobs due to the woefully lax and extremely underpaid temp / contract workers that private industry employed to screen the 9/11 terrorists. They were hired to save a buck. There are some hard workers in America’s many low-wage / temp / churn jobs who get nothing but abuse for their hard work except from grateful customers, but when employers cheap out, they often get what they pay for except in government work, where they often get less than they pay for. It is stupid to cheap out on safety.

    But cheaper, more accessible air travel facilitates the globalist economy, wherein almost all of the rewards accrue to the top 20%. If elites are burdened by TSA or any other aspect of air travel, you can’t prove it by their actions. They are constantly trundling around the globe via the friendly or un-friendly skies, seeking business opportunities abroad, but they create so few jobs in the USA that the average employed person works part time at 34 hours per week, meaning half of all employed citizens and noncitizens in the USA work even fewer part-time hours, mostly at low-as-you-go wages.

    Set aside the fake environmentalists, separating out their recyclables like all of the other good yuppies, the dual-earner couples on their 8th excused 2-week vacation for busy-working parents per year. Much of their travel is the carbon-foot-print-heavy type, the type that requires large amounts of jet fuel to go between continents for “work” and on every holiday, like the upscale mommy at the store explaining in a loud voice that her family chose to go on a 3-day jaunt to Barcelona for Christmas ‘cause her toddler had developed a taste for European architecture.

  4. I’ve got nothing to argue specifically with Ron Paul’s good comments here on private industry vs. Feral Gov’t in this regard. I don’t think Dr. Paul was ready to go all the way with this, in that he didn’t mention the simple truth regarding weapons and airplanes:

    The bad guys can always bring weapons of some sort. It’d be wise for the good guys (the 99.9999%) to be ready for that. Let me put it this way – there would be no column here, nor comments under it, nor TSA, nor Motherland Security Depts, if just ONE guy, ONE guy, on each of those planes on 9/11/01* had been carrying a handgun. Sure, the flights were 1/2 empty, as I recall, but that still means only 1% or so.

    The American government has learned nothing, as 17 years later, people are still being disarmed at the entrance of airports. Maybe “learned nothing” is really not the explanation. In reality I don’t think any of the elites cares about, or wants Americans to actually be able to defend themselves. It’s not in the plan. Motherland Security is.

    Some thoughts to go alone with this Ron Paul post, from Peak Stupidity called 16 Years of Spreading Democracy – They still hate us for our freedoms(?), on the 16th anniversary of 9/11.


    * I’m just riding on the official Gov’t story here. This is not a Ron Unz 5,000 word, 1000-comment post here, and it’s neither the time nor place for that whole discussion.

  5. SafeNow says:

    To this discussion of government employees, I will add a remembrance of January 13, 1982. Lenny Skutnik, of the govt budget office. Into the icy Potomac he swam, to make the rescue, while others watched. The Air Florida crash. Mr. Reagan honored Lenny at the SOTU, the first SOTU honoree. There is a Youtube of Mr. Reagan and Lenny. Modest, humble Lenny was awarded the very rare Coast Guard Gold Lifesaving Medal. God bless Lenny, and the spirit of his action.

  6. The worst thing about TSA is that the uncertainty over how long you’ll have to wait in line contributes to the increasingly absurd lengths of time you have to allow to make sure you get on your flight.

    Adding up all the man hours wasted in this way makes one realize the true cost of it all. At some point now a good decade back, the actual losses on 9/11 ceased to be the bulk of the expense, either financially or in terms of human life. How much longer is all this going to go on?

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  7. Hey, it keeps otherwise dangerous people off the streets. Oh, wait … I forgot about the VIPR teams harassing motorists at rest stops.

  8. @Colin Wright

    That’s an excellent point, Colin. You may end up 1 hour early at the gate for 75% of your trips, just due to making sure you didn’t miss those 25%, that you would have. If you add in the stress – for most just the worry about the flight, but for the real Americans the anger at the whole idea of being subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures*, you would find that this is probably killing as many or more people a year as died on that day.

    I’d say:

    – For a one leg flight, any trip less than 250 miles is probably better done by car.
    – For a two leg flight, any trip less than 400 miles is probably better done by car.


    Not to mention physical seizures later on due to the loss of ones medication at the check-point ;-}

  9. Anonymous[724] • Disclaimer says:

    Whenever you think of turning something over to the government, ask yourself one question “How is the National Do Not Call Registry working for me?”

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  10. @Anonymous

    We’re actually lucky, #724, that the US government IS as incompetent as it is. Even with that Do Not Call Registry, did you feel like the government would be very discreet with your phone information and never, ever put any information in a database besides those numbers you don’t want to hear from? Why give the US Gov’t your phone #? Make it at least a little bit harder for them, having to get ahold of the NSA.

  11. KenH says:

    I agree totally that it’s time to abolish the TSA. Some of them take their jobs and themselves far too seriously. When I was flying out of Chicago last November a black TSA agent that resembled William the Refrigerator Perry was walking around barking orders at everyone in ebonics. Then I was mildly upbraided by another Napoleonic negro for not disclosing that I had a Kleenex in my pocket (I forgot).

    Some of the other TSA people looked like they were on work release from the Cook County jail.

    But the libertarian claim that the airlines can provide security that is both better and less intrusive and cheaper all at the same time is more libertarian wishful thinking. The airline industry is pretty cutthroat and will cut corners on security by hiring low quality people at low pay so they can offer cheaper fares and not cut into their profits. This wouldn’t be a problem in a nation that is 80% white with some blacks and hispanics but not with Muslims and the rest of the third world.

    The airport security debate circles back to the fatal racial diversity that (((they))) have imposed on us from above and to a lesser extent our foreign policy that provides the impetus for some Muslims to commit acts of violence against Americans and American targets.

  12. Mulegino1 says:

    Abolish the TSA and grind it into dust. The flying public is now subject to a level of intrusiveness that would have shocked even Stalin and horrified Hitler.

    The real, occult purpose of the TSA has nothing to do with safety. It is really about conditioning the American people to take orders, and to participate in government mandated rituals, like the requirement to remove one’s shoes. Why? Do we, like Moses, enter holy ground when we enter TSA territory? Because one single individual (out of the 7 billion inhabitants of this earth) made a lame attempt to ignite his shoes, hundreds of millions of airline passengers had to remove their footwear. How monumentally stupid is that? What about Chertoff’s cancer machines/radiation scanners? Yes, exposing people to potentially deadly radiation is keeping them safe. Of course.

    Yet, there is no shortage of blubbering, obese (both mentally and physically) sheeple who actually believe this is about “keeping us safe.”

    I would like to think that the vast majority of the American people would prefer to live with a highly improbable risk as opposed to being treated like criminal cattle, but I am harassed with doubts about that.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Ron Paul Comments via RSS