Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big Pretense Continues

I refer to the maze of denial which weaves its way through many aspects of our culture "the Big Pretense". It covers everything from pretending Al Sharpton is not a racist, to pretending that the state pen is a cushy pamper house for inmates, to pretending that it is not only our duty, but realistic, to militarily bring "stability" to regions steeped in backwards brutal and insane culture; spread democracy whether they want it or not. The list goes on and on.

One facet of the big pretense is based on the premise that if it is legal, it is right. Millions of companies and people use that bit of conscience salve to justify accepting public money they know constitutes bilking the tax pool. That avenue of behavior, alone, could fill volumes.

Many pretend that the police force as a whole is a lofty selfless group who only want to serve and protect. The fact that half their activities amount to a subtle war on the public gets written off in the obvious instances as "just doing their job". And you condemn those who were "just doing their jobs" under Stalin, Hitler and other regimes which wiped out and imprisoned great numbers of people?

The latest glaring example is the TSA, and Homeland Security. First I must repeat: Nothing they have done as far as personal search and screening at the airport would have prevented 9/11. We knew who Osama was, as well as a whole cast of other characters--had their pictures, knew their general plans to make trouble long before that attack.

Thinking that ignoring the fourth amendment and basic reality is the way to security and a better country is purely an exercise in fantasy. Believing that profiling is evil and not the best way to discover who is attempting to make trouble is to deny reality. Why would anyone choose to harass everyone, forcing them to prove innocence? Power must be a factor in the motive. Maybe lack of imagination, self hatred or something else figures in.

To put it bluntly: Allowing the TSA to stick their finger up your ass will not make for a better, safer world. Not if you take the statement literally or figuratively.

One interesting upshot of current airport policy is that, once again, ease of personal mobility is the loser. Mobility has been under the gun for some time. Tax the piss out of fuel to limit car travel, or do like Jerry Brown did in California when he was last governor and make sure you don't build up the highways to accommodate demand. But they pretend it is for the planet and to stimulate alternative energy, etc. Never happens.

Politicians who talk a big game on energy policy and alternatives "we" need to embrace are not interested in the natural, new inventions and innovations which would come forth, but in controlling the development and distribution of all energy and transportation. That is quite different. But, in the main, the "we" they refer to pretends.

If I ever decide to fly again, and these invasive procedures are still in place, I hope I can request a female to do the groping. I'm not comfortable with males putting their hands on me. Males are all pervs; everyone knows that.

The indication that they may fine a guy who opted out and left the airport after not being able to resolve his objection to the procedure is a bit scary. But people will go along, just like they did in grade school when goofy harold was being taunted and ridiculed by the cool kids. Same syndrome at work. Why risk losing comfort and the feeling of being part of the crowd based on what is actually right?

And let me state that from my experience working closely with TSA in Memphis, that, if you are lucky, one in four is truly professional and not likely to abuse the nature of these new screening devices and procedures, while maybe one in six has a lick of common sense. Perhaps the quality is slightly higher in many other cities. Then again, maybe not. It is unlikely that the higher ups in TSA anywhere are anything better than good tools of totalitarianism. The pieces of work I knew in those positions were straight out of old WW2 movies---the gleefully oppressive members of the party and willing fascists.

But it is easier to pretend they are all "just doing their jobs". It is a tough choice--do you risk living in the weeds or doing some other work that may be harder, or do you knowingly do a job which is nothing but government mandated harassment of the innocent? Of course that goes for many jobs...

I have my own personal pretenses I guess. I'm not even sure when they are in play. Am I kidding myself when I dream or think I am competent, or when I think things are OK? I don't know. But I do not take your money, then control your movements, and choices.

One last thought; since when is it a "privilege" to board a flight on a privately owned airline? Is it a privilege to be served at a restaurant? I think not. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, it is your right. Nowhere is it granted to the government to decide if they want to grant you the privilege. They can deny you the right, provided they have good reason to believe you may adversely affect the safety of others, and if you don't pay then the airline can decide.

Use of the word "privilege" should be weighed carefully if a totalitarian regime controlling society is not the preferred condition.


  1. Loss of personal freedom is the main tenant of terrorism.

    After reading this post I'm sad to say that they are slowly winning the war.

    We are prisoners.


  2. Sorry I missed your call. Will try to reach you later.

    This is another GREAT piece which would really open many minds if it had wider publicity.

    On another website, some befuddled apologist opined "well, you don't HAVE to fly". I answered them and will post that answer here.

  3. "But nobody HAS to fly"

    Scenario No. 1 -- New job, paying well and gotten only barely in a tight market. Boss tells you that your first assignment will be to liase with your opposite number---in Tokyo.

    Scenario No 2 --Your wife has driven your children to visit relatives in Arizona. You receive a 3AM phone call that she has been in a collision with an 18 wheeler and your presence immediately is essential. That is all the cop can (will) tell you, other than that time is of the essence.

    Scenario No 3 --Your late-teenage daughter finally convinced you to let her and a friend spend a month in Europe. The embassy in Rome calls to advise she and her friend have been arrested and your presence will greatly assist them in securing their release.

  4. Scenario #4 -- you have a long weekend and want to visit someone 500 miles away. Sure! Drive! Ten hours each way leaves one day for visiting. What's wrong with that?


Can't make comments any easier, I don't think. People are having trouble--google tries to kidnap them. I'll loosen up one more thing and let's see. Please give it a try

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