Americans, who have forked over so much civil liberty in exchange for the presumed protection of the State since 9/11, may have finally been pushed too far. We'll see.
The Internet is crackling with news reports of a growing travelers/citizens revolt against the Travel Security Administration, or TSA, which is employing naked body scanners and physically intrusive "pat downs" at airport security. It's hard to tell whether there really is a revolt or if the media is ginning up a fun story in a slow news cycle.
The "revolution" kicked off last week withthe treatment of 31-year-old air traveler John Tyner, a software engineer from San Diego. Tyner was on his way to South Dakota for a hunting trip when he refused the naked body scanner. And when given the option of the "intimate" physical pat-down, Tyner whipped out his camera phone and captured the now famous words, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested." YouTube made "Don't Touch My Junk" the new rallying call against the TSA. Heavy-handed TSA officials have since launched an investigation of Tyner and may fine him $11,000.
But it gets worse. Here's video of a TSA strip search of a young boy.
Could our government be any stupider? Yes it could.
Here's the news account of a retired special education teacher and bladder cancer survivor, on his way to a wedding in Florida, who was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an "intimate" pat-down by TSA officers at Detroit's Metro Airport.
Americans are understandably outraged. There are already several Web sites with "Don't Touch My Junk" T-shirts, and the rebels are pushing a"National Opt-out Day" on Wednesday, one of the busiest days of the year for air travel. Columnist Charles Krauthammer writes, "The junk man's revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy."
A college political science professor of mine, a jolly, jaded ex-hippie who once confessed that the futility of government and political parties had driven him to anarchism, described big government outfits like the TSA as "fascism with a friendly face."
But the merchants of Bigger Government are only the junior partners in this symbiotic liberty-sucking vortex. This is really about political correctness; about the U.S. government's choosing ridiculous and undemocratic security measures against all Americans instead of profiling middle eastern male or Muslim passengers the way Israeli airport security would.
Last I checked, radical Muslims were the only people trying to blow up American passenger planes. Yet our government must pretend that we all want to blow up planes. For Americans from an earlier era, the stupidity of this would be incomprehensible. But we airline passengers have been complicit in the stupidity and in the attacks on our own civil liberty, by pretending that the game of "anyone could be a bomber" is not only acceptable in a free society, but is somehow normal and good.
This gives a glimpse of why I believe radical Islam will accomplish what no movement in Western civilization has been able to do thus far, and that is force an end to the reign of political correctness.
Radical Islam will never stop trying to kill us as long as madrassas from Egypt to Indonesia crank out killers for jihad. And the politically correct Western government, which would rather pretend that "anyone could be a bomber," and refuses to profile Muslims, opting instead to strip-search little boys and grandmothers with walkers or grope cancer survivors until they urinate on themselves, will necessitate a revolt against both big government and political correctness, if Americans have any blood left in their veins.
We know precisely what the Founding Fathers would say about this circus. Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Most of us played along with the U.S. government's "anyone could be a bomber" security game at airports, thinking that it was part of being a good citizen. Growing numbers of Americans now think that it is not.