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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5483/the-six-faces-of-the-terrorist-the-one-face-of-bureaucracy/

The Six Faces of the Terrorist; The One Face of Bureaucracy

August 18, 2006 by

A stroll through the airport feels like a step into a dystopian movie. We are searched, snapped at, and ordered around. People glumly walk from place to place as the loudspeaker blares: “Report all suspicious persons to the authorities!”

How much more of this will the American people take? Sadly, much more. FULL ARTICLE


Jay Stone August 17, 2006 at 8:34 pm

I already see a lot of those faces at the airport and on the plane. Fear at the idea of travelling in an aluminum can going 600 miles an hour at thirty thousand feet in the air. Disgust at the rude and inefficient federalized employees who are known to steal valuables out of luggage and provide abysmal service. Anger at the whole situation that seems to only get worse with no sign of abating. Determination and anger to just grin and bear it for the rest of the ride. Sadness from being so far away from our beloved earth and witnessing the antics of some of our fellow passengers.

Oh no, we are all terrorists. Somehow, I don’t think this is going to work

Mark Brabson August 17, 2006 at 9:01 pm

I simply refuse to fly anymore, not public airlines anyhow. I refuse to behave like a sheep and cower before the S.S., er excuse me, T.S.A. Fortunately, there are private pilots and private aircraft that can take me where I need to go. I am not submitting to the humiliation of the T.S.A. nor will I ever.

M E Hoffer August 17, 2006 at 9:52 pm

Just imagine if we had the salt to heed John Galt’s answer to these types of mechanizations.

quincunx August 18, 2006 at 1:14 am

Yippee, I’m looking forward to my flight to Panama next month.

Having visited Western Ukraine in 2002, it was quite amusing at how lax the Western Ukrainian check points are (as long as you’re a foreigner!). You can even buy theft insurance [on airport property - max coverage: $1000USD] for $2USD! Could it be that Ukraine wants to attract some finance? Maybe. Or it is just the fact that it doesn’t meddle in the middle east.

Jack Maturin August 18, 2006 at 4:16 am

It’s not just America. Over here in the UK the government security staff at airports are getting increasingly bureaucratic and rude. After the terrorist scare last week (conveniently occurring some might say, immediately after Tony Blair got roasted in the press for his stance on Israel), we were reduced to body searches for everyone (including 80 year old white English ladies) and being allowed to carry nothing more than travel documents onto planes, as hand luggage, in clear plastic bags. One is reminded of the film ‘Brazil’, where terrorism is blatantly used by government to justify overarching rule.

Apparently, ‘profiling’ is discriminatory, so we are going to be facing an increasing amount of 4-hour queues, in the future, to ensure we are all searched properly, including holidaymaking pensioners and large family groups. Yes, alas, this will entail the hiring of hundreds of more government security officers, but hey, what can you do?

It can be even worse on the continent. Trying to leave Vienna airport one night I had the temerity to unconsciously raise one of my eyebrows, and got the personal treatment. ‘I want your watch!’ said one of the fat scowling oafs. ‘I don’t wear a watch,’ was my provocative reply. ‘Show me!’ came the order, so I had to roll up both sleeves to stay clear of a Teutonic detention room. No doubt tired-looking white gentlemen at central European airports, going home for the weekend, are well known for blowing up commuter-flight airplanes with cunningly-wired watches.

Fortunately, they didn’t spot the 17 contraband Cartier wristwatches I had hidden inside the battery compartment of my laptop. Phew! :-)

Curt Howland August 18, 2006 at 9:04 am

On the way to Sesame Street this morning, the TV was tuned to the History Channel. It came up with a show highlighting Henrich Himmler. Ya know, the top dog of the Nazi SS, architect of the “final solution”, an altogether seriously nasty guy.

Well, they were interviewing a woman who had been brought in as a “dinner guest”, and her date that evening was Himmler.

She said he was a nothing man, no power of personality, “like a 4th grade school teacher.”

A bureaucrat. The perfect bureaucrat, someone who is “just doing their job”, completely without blame for the policies they are enacting, regardless of their effects on others.

Freedom lovers have a new cuss word to spit at people: Bureaucrat!

Curt Howland August 18, 2006 at 9:08 am

Jack Maturin, that’s interesting. Even the English are getting nasty? Hmmm.

How far to have fallen from the days of the Bobby who would say, “Careful there, sir” as they took you into custody, even if none too gently.

I can put up with a lot of crap if people are simply polite about it, considerate that there is inconvenience involved.

John Hagan August 18, 2006 at 10:18 am

I am a little uncomfortable with Mr. Rockwell’s assessment of the TSA. To say that the TSA has no interest in distinguishing good guys from bad guys is not only offensive; it is also irresponsible and untrue. Very few people in this country want to see Terrorists get onto planes and commit acts of terrorism against american civilians. In fact, I doubt that all those with the TSA want that.

The TSA and Welfare bureaucracy are just answers to the bell. They exist because the public feels that assistance for the poor and airplane/national security are things that the federal government should help out with.
Instead of blaming politicians for answering a call that they promised to answer, we should blame the misinformed public. Many politicians know that more government is not the answer, but if they don’t do something other than tell the public that they should help themselves those politicians will be replaced by other politicians who will do something. Most americans are not willing to accept that they are between a rock and a hard place.

Our war against big gov. should not be waged with weapons of sweeping generalizations and talk of conspiracy. That just makes us sound like we are crazy and looking for things to whine about that are not there. Instead we need to provide constructive criticism, simplifying gov. before reducing it, and reducing it before elinating it.

Laurie Lacey August 18, 2006 at 10:31 am


Well, I certainly agree with much of what you say.
However, I’m far from convinced that private security firms, or private security policies would be much better than government based secuity institutions.

Yes, private institutions have the customer in mind; but, if you’ve ever taken the time to observe the employees of private security companies, or department store security people, for example, you’ll notice that they are often just as rude as government security employees. In other words, their position of “power” seems to go to their heads.

And, please note, that if you argue that government security organizations have a self-interest in playing up the need for greater security, this can also be said for private firms, who owe their existence to feelings of insecuity amongst the population.

The long-term answer lies in addressing the root causes of terrorism. I am less than convinced that the neo-conservative idiology of hard-core security coupled with aggressive military action, will do the job. Certainly this policy has ruled the day since 9/11, and look where we are now! The world is less secure, less peaceful, Irag is a mess, while the Iranians giggle with joy over the influence they have there. Democracy in the Middle East is a joke — it only results in greater power for fundamentalist religious parties.

Anyhow, I’m not going to solve the problems in this comment:) I’ll go now. No one has all the answers or perfect solutions. The Welfare State has many good points, as does the Capitalist State. In Canada, we’re somewhere in between, and are still doing a relatively good job with the Universal Health Care system. Sure it has its problems, but so does private-based health care!

My best wishes!

JD August 18, 2006 at 10:48 am

We are invited to “Post an intelligent and civil comment”.

So far today each response has been civil except for Mark Brabson’s who uncivilly referred to T.S.A as the S.S.

On the other hand, his response to the activities of T.S.A. is the most intelligent, that is the most likely to cause the T.S.A. to change their habits — if enough of us stop flying.

Remember, shortly after 9/11, we were assured we could safely get back to “normal” when commerce started suffering from our staying home.

Right on, Mark.

Roger M August 18, 2006 at 11:18 am

Last time I checked, Israel uses a private firm for airport security.

Mark Brabson August 18, 2006 at 11:33 am

I will admit, that part of my comment was uncivil. But, you must also admit, it is difficult to remain civil when you are dealing with a totalitarian bureaucracy like the T.S.A.

I think businessmen could take the lead in not flying. In this day and age, with modern communication techniques and high speed internet connections, I think that businessmen should simply refrain from flying and do business electronically. Let’s hit the T.S.A. where it hurts, and at the same time, bring about the demise of some of the airlines that really need to be brought down, I am of course referring to the propped up old airlines, not the more efficient newer airlines.

David Spellman August 18, 2006 at 11:48 am

I am on the “No-fly” list

It is true–when I fly, ever since November of 2001, I get the special treatment. The last time I flew, I was told I could not board a plane without special clearance. I could hypothesize why that might be, but no one will tell. If you are in a position of authority with the government, you can check for your own curiosity since my real name is appended to the post.

By the way, I am a white, middle class, middle-aged male with no criminal record (not even an arrest in my entire life). I am unfailingly polite and accomodating at the airport. There is nothing in my personal conduct that would make a TSA employee suspicious. I am in the government’s crosshairs for undisclosed external reasons.

Before 2001, I had a much different view of the world. I had little contact with the government and felt safe as long as I paid my taxes and obeyed the traffic laws. Since becoming one of the special people that my government pays attention to, I am a changed man. Now I feel compelled to speak up about our rapidly ebbing freedom.

I have become particularly fond of the poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;

I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,

I remained silent;

I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,

I did not speak out;

I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,

I did not speak out;

I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out.

I am already on a list. A list of people the government has decided are personae non gratae. It reminds me of the line from the song in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado:

“I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list

Of society offenders who might well be underground,

And who never would be missed.”

As a result, I have decided to stand up and be counted. I would rather die a martyr than disappear anonimously. Besides, if people know about me, someone may notice when I disappear. The best defence against being liquidated is sometimes notoriety.

I didn’t ask or want to get on the government’s list. If I weren’t on the list, maybe I would cower in the darkness with most Americans. Since I have been put on the little list, I am compelled to oppose what appears to be the unfolding of a great social catastrophe. So I speak up long and loudly. And I post with my real name. So if I disappear, take note and be wary.

I know most people think I can’t be serious. I used to think that way, too. Remember the poem.

David Spellman August 18, 2006 at 11:49 am

I apologize for the awful formatting of my comment. The HTML tags don’t seem to work right for the blog.

Curt Howland August 18, 2006 at 12:58 pm

One thing for sure, the girl in the photographs will never board a plane again!

“I dunno, sarge, I just have a bad feeling. She reminds me of someone I should not let on a plane.”

billwald August 18, 2006 at 1:40 pm

These days Americans want security, not freedom.

Luke M August 18, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

Jeremy Snyder August 18, 2006 at 2:13 pm

“The Welfare State has many good points, as does the Capitalist State. In Canada, we’re somewhere in between, and are still doing a relatively good job with the Universal Health Care system. Sure it has its problems, but so does private-based health care!”

Actually, in America we’re somewhere in between as well. We may not have Universal Health Coverage guaranteed by government but we do have Medicaid and Medicare, plus huge government regulation of the Health Care Industry through things line The American Medica Association and the FDA.

Wild Pegasus August 18, 2006 at 3:08 pm

See, this is why I go to the airport 3 hours early and have a gin and tonic (maybe two) before the flight. I’m not sad, angry, depressed, disgusted, or anything else, just mildly and delightfully inebriated.

- Josh

banker August 18, 2006 at 3:47 pm

“However, I’m far from convinced that private security firms, or private security policies would be much better than government based secuity institutions.”–quote

You can fire private security firms, but you cannot fire the TSA. That is the difference between anything public and private. Private is voluntary association and public is forced.

Legion August 18, 2006 at 4:03 pm

How do I look at the airport?
I think I might look like this:

Fear — I do indeed fear the incompetent process that the TSA has built with the feel good routines that accomplish little. The search for trivial objects, the National Gardsmen holding their unloaded machine guns, the Federal “checkers” attitude and other useless activities are pitifull. The lack of profiling wasts everyones time and dilutes even these worthless porceedures. I have flown El Al from Isreal to the USA and realized that they are looking for terrorists rather than objects. I was impressed with what seemed to be the prime target of profiling — it was young, single women from the USA. Apparently they are subseptiable to young Arab men who plead the case of restrictions on mailing family gifts to their families in the USA and ask that they carry packages to be mailed in the USA (postage affixed). I’m likely number one in the photos.
Disgust —
Indeed I’m disgusted with the entire approach to security effectivness. Oops! I’m number two also.

Anger –
Yes I was angry the last time I had to go through this charade and will be so at the next ordeal (if there is one more air travel required).
There now I will show the first three faces.

Determination/Anger –
If the trip is business and I don’t want to take the ocean liner over there, then I’m damn determined to get through this process. Face number four will be seen.

Sadness 1&2 –
Why does it have to be this way? Why do I have to pay for Fedral employees, their wages, pensions, job security all at higher rates than private checkers.
I’m in big trouble as I expect to show all the faces to the inquisitors.

When real profiling based upon a statistical analysis commences then I’ll think about elective flying again.

My humble solution —
Armed pilots, strong checking of the backgrounds of the baggage handlers, cleaning crews, food service personnel and ramp security in general, armed “Sky Marshalls” and most importantly the rights of USA citizens who hold Conceled Carry Lisences to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights to protect themselves especially where the government is unable to do so.

Mark Brabson August 18, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Armed passengers would have stopped 9/11 in its tracks. At the very least, people with concealed carry permits should be allowed to carry on board planes, I would go so far that all citizens should be allowed to do so. An armed citizenry is the best defense against terrorism, and the best defense against the terror of the state.

Luke M August 19, 2006 at 6:48 am

I don’t like the idea of a policy that allows passengers to carry firearms onto the plane. Who knows what could happen aboard midflight. I would be very concerned to know that fellow passengers may have concealed weapons on them. A ‘Sky Marshal’ on the other hand..

TGGP August 19, 2006 at 9:39 am

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin”

There is no evidence Franklin ever said that.

Geech August 19, 2006 at 5:02 pm

The quote appeared in a book published by Franklin. Although it’s not clear whether the quote came from Franklin, it does echo the sentiment of many at the time period.

Wikipedia notes that Franklin printed a somewhat similar adage in the 1738 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack:
“Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.”

Poor Richard’s Almanack of 1738.

Ohhh Henry August 20, 2006 at 12:29 am

“In Canada, we’re somewhere in between, and are still doing a relatively good job with the Universal Health Care system.”

Well, the money allocated to public health care is going up far faster than tax revenues, doctors and nurses are fleeing the country, and the waiting lists for lifesaving treatment are getting longer and longer. The waiting lists to get a family doctor are getting longer and longer too. Canada is doing a relatively good job … compared to North Korea. All we need now are Universal Food Care, Universal House Care and Universal Job Care.

kentuckyliz August 20, 2006 at 3:42 pm

TSA isn’t a big deal. I make the best of it by picking a line with the cutest TSA/NG guy to get felt up by. I’ve even offered a tip but they won’t take them.

The best things 9/11 and its security clampdown in the airports did were to get rid of the riffraff (no nontravellers past the security gates) and chill out screaming executives. Those @$$holes used to scream bloody murder at ticket agents over flight delays/cancellations due to WEATHER (obviously not the airlines fault) and they raised everyone’s BP and contributed to an unpleasant atmosphere. Now they shut up. I’d take TSA copping a feel any day over screaming self-important Man.

I think businessmen should boycott flying. They will make life more pleasant for the rest of us and they will lose out to their competitors who still make the effort for F2F relationship building with their prospective clients.

I think TSA should engage in profiling regarding age, national origin, gender, religion, and ethnicity. They should be selectively profiling, not investigating everyone. It’s ridiculous and a sign of stupidity and weakness to our enemies.

The surliest travel folks are Amtrak staff. There’s no real security going on there, but those folks were surly before and after 9/11. It’s unreal how miserable they are.

Kristian Joensen August 21, 2006 at 4:48 am

kentuckyliz, that would only make the terrorist organizations employ more white people as terrorists. It would also be discrimination in the extreme.

It is sad to see so many white supremacists like you posting on the net :(

faultolerant August 21, 2006 at 3:30 pm

Kristian – calling Liz a “white supremacist” presumes many things – including that she’s white – for her making an absolutely reasonable statement. CHECK EVERYONE. Why is that discrimination? Wake up, child, it wasn’t a white Grandmother who crashed planes, or was trying to use liquids to drop airlines over the Atlantic. Failing to recognize “that which is” shows total arrogance and ingnorance. If you can’t accept that, then maybe you are the one with the “supremacist” perspective.

More’s the pity.

kyle August 21, 2006 at 5:31 pm

I don’t know if Liz is a white supremacist, but her desire to be “felt up” by strangers, and bureaucrat strangers at that, in full public view, point to deeper problems. I thought female agents inspected female passengers. Troll is probably a more appropriate label.

Mark Anderson August 22, 2006 at 7:03 pm

Lew explains in this commentary why elements within the government would have carried out 911. Cui bono, other than the government and its contractors?

Paul Edwards August 22, 2006 at 7:51 pm

Has anyone here ever watched the film of WTC7 collapsing? It comes down demolition style jsut like the other two, and it wasn’t hit by any plane. I’m still waiting for a good answer as to how bin Laden pulled that one off. LOL!

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