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InsiderOnline Blog: November 2010

“We Didn’t Decide This.”

Here’s some good perspective on the Transportation Security Administration from Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek:

I was listening to Tony Kornheiser’s AM radio show this morning and referring to people who are upset about being groped patted down he said something like they were missing the goal of the whole thing which was to keep the plane from being blown up. But we know that’s not the goal. If that were the goal, we would ban air travel. That is the only certain way of achieving the goal. (And it would be very successful if that really were the goal.)

But the other point is that it’s not the right goal. The goal isn’t to stop x y or z regardless of the cost. That’s why the ban on air travel is useful. It helps you see that there are some costs not worth paying. How have we come to a point where we think it’s OK for 99.9% of the population to suffer indignity to protect us from the other .1%? One answer is that there’s no “we.” We didn’t decide this. Somebody decided it for us.

The right goal is that we should offer choices and restrict choices if those moves enhance the human enterprise, giving us more freedom to express ourselves, to create, to enjoy, to love, to be moved, to dance, to sing, to harmonize with others. And yes, to stay safe from evil people so we can do those things. But staying safe isn’t worth it if there is too much indignity or if it empowers people who do not care for me to do things that hurt me or that profit them at my expense.

Posted on 11/23/10 04:12 PM by Alex Adrianson

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