On this day before Thanksgiving, tens of thousands of Americans take to the air to fly across the country to be with their families. Tens of thousands of Americans will have their “baggage” checked as a result of a new security screening directive under President Obama. They will be given a choice, to be sure; a choice between being irradiated and allowing a total stranger in a separate room to view them as if they were naked, or allow a total stranger to essentially feel them up in public.
So, how does this square with the 4th Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures? Is it not unreasonable to subject every single passenger, without so much as a hint that anything might be amiss, to such a degrading search of their genatilia? Or does the fact that one person in all of avaition history hid explosives in his underwear suddenly make it reasonable to inspect everyone’s underwear?
But, would not explosive-sniffing dogs be less invasive? Of course they would. But that’s not the point. The point is to get everyone to submit to more and more degrading searches, to get everyone to submit to the government’s power and authority over the most private parts of our bodies. It makes no difference that this edict came down from the Obama Administration, than if it had been ordered under Bush, except that if Bush had ordered this, there would have been a far greater outcry from the Left.
But these searches are constitutional because we don’t have a constitutional right to travel. Flying is a privilege, and to enjoy that privilege, the government can subject us to any kind of search it wants. For those of us who wondered at how German Jews could continually acquiesce to more and more degradations under Nazi Germany, we now share the same experience.
This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.