The TSA emerged out of this environment as another reflexive denial of the problem and applied the same solution. Broad range security procedures that applied to everyone, but this time they were overseen by people who would not have been accepted to work in any police force in the country. This was the age of the mall cop set up as the first line of national defense with the power to steal, grope and single out passengers for the most trivial of reasons. The one thing that the mall cops of the TSA were not allowed to do was profile terrorists.
Strip searching children was fine, alienating Muslims was not. Children after all were not likely to become offended and blow up buildings. Muslims were and the entire purpose of the TSA was to apply broad range security procedures that did not single out or offend Muslims.
Like most mall cops, the real purpose of the TSA was to provide the perception of security, rather than the reality. The TSA was never really meant to stop an actual terrorist and it never has. All it could hope to do was discourage them. Its real goals however were to restore confidence in air travel and reshape public attitudes to make flyers easier to manage.
The latter seems to miss the point of the crisis, but it actually is the point. Leaders who don’t know how to cope with a crisis respond by limiting the freedom of action of those under them. Generals, CEO’s or directors all follow the same pattern of ensuring compliance in subordinates to make the system more manageable and remove as many possible sources of chaos from the system.
Islamic terrorism has shut down the decision making process of the modern Western state by attacking its core assumptions about the future being one of open borders, multicultural populations and international consensus. Instead rapid air travel is a threat, multicultural cities are becoming No Go Zones and the future is heading toward a clash of civilizations.
The assumptions on which they built their vision of the future are crumbling under them creating the kind of situation where good leaders reevaluate and admit their mistakes while bad leaders try to keep pushing forward in the hopes that this is only a temporary problem. A passing phase that can be resolved by reaching out to the Muslim world, encouraging their reforms and stabilizing their conflicts. Any remaining tensions would be dealt with the time honored methods of liberals, fighting discrimination and promoting positive role models, while covering up the mess by giving law enforcement broad powers over everyone.
A single major successful terrorist attack that gets by the TSA will result in major cosmetic changes for the agency, but no substantial ones. And the lack of meaningful debate over the nature of the problem that it exists to solve means that we are stuck in a debate between broad range security measures and hard line libertarians, both of whom deny that there even is a war on terror. The one thing to come out of a debate between Eric Holder and Ron Paul is that neither believes that Islamic terrorism is a problem, which means that neither of them has anything to say about a solution.
The jet plane brought the world closer within reach, without considering the consequences of what that growing proximity would mean.The airline hijackings, mass migration and deployment of hijacked aircraft to cause mass destruction all shifted the balance of power over global transportation away from the builder societies of the free world and toward the destroyer societies of the Muslim world.
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