Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Drones of Dictatorship

For the purposes of this blog post, I define "dictatorship" as "arbitrary power." This means the "right" to exercise governmental power for any reason, or no reason at all, or contrary to reason.
The dictionary defines "arbitrary" as
1.subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion: an arbitrary decision.
2.decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by a law or statute.
3.having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical: an arbitrary government.
4.capricious; unreasonable; unsupported: an arbitrary demand for payment.

Now Daniel Rubin reports on Another case of TSA overkill, an event that happened last year.

Ryan Thomas of New Jersey was taking his first flight, to Walt Disney World, for his fourth birthday. Ryan was born 16 weeks prematurely. His ankles are malformed and his legs have low muscle tone. On his fourth birthday he was just starting to walk. He has leg braces and uses a stroller. Rubin reports:

Mid-morning on March 19, his parents wheeled his stroller to the TSA security point, a couple of hours before their Southwest Airlines flight was to depart.

The boy's father broke down the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt as Leona Thomas walked Ryan through the metal detector.

The alarm went off.

The screener told them to take off the boy's braces.

The Thomases were dumbfounded. "I told them he can't walk without them on his own," Bob Thomas said.

"He said, 'He'll need to take them off.'"

Ryan's mother offered to walk him through the detector after they removed the braces, which are custom-made of metal and hardened plastic.

No, the screener replied. The boy had to walk on his own.

Leona Thomas said she was calm. Bob Thomas said he was starting to burn.

They complied, and Leona went first, followed by Ryan, followed by Bob, so the boy wouldn't be hurt if he fell. Ryan made it through.

By then, Bob Thomas was furious. He demanded to see a supervisor. The supervisor asked what was wrong.

"I told him, 'This is overkill. He's 4 years old. I don't think he's a terrorist.'"

The supervisor replied, "You know why we're doing this," Thomas said.

No, I would say, I don't know why you're doing this. "Why" assumes some kind of rational purpose. There is no rational reason for TSA power.

This would not take place in a Free Market, where airlines were competing for customers by providing the safest travel with the least inconvenience for passengers. Apart from government regulations, there is no "why." There is no reason for this to have been done. The Transportation Security Administration has subsequently apologized, admitting this should never have happened.

The question is, why did it happen? Why does it happen every day?

A Dictatorship consists of two types of people:
  • Archists, who derive pathological enjoyment out of bossing other people around
  • Drones, who mindlessly carry out the orders of dictators
Hitler did not kill six million Jews. I don't know if he killed a single one. Rather, a million Germans killed the Jews. They were drones. They never asked what's wrong with what they do.

Generally speaking, TSA employees are drones. "I'm just feeding my family," they will say. They grease the wheels of dictatorship.

America's Founding Fathers would say that Americans who accept the drones of dictatorship are slaves. I'm not saying we should follow in the footsteps of America's Founding Fathers and get out our muskets and kill all the drones, whether they wear Red Coats or Blue TSA Coats. But we need to make it clear that being a drone for dictatorship is socially unacceptable. Drones should repent.

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