Ron Paul: The Revolt Against TSA

by Ron Paul

The growing revolt against invasive TSA practices is encouraging to Americans who are fed up with federal government encroachment in their lives. In the case of air travelers, this encroachment is quite literally physical. But a deep-seated libertarian impulse still exists within the American people, and opposition to the new TSA full body scanner and groping searches is gathering momentum.

I introduced legislation last week that is based on a very simple principle: federal agents should be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. If you would face criminal prosecution or a lawsuit for groping someone, exposing them to unwelcome radiation, causing them emotional distress, or violating indecency laws, then TSA agents should similarly face sanctions for their actions.

This principle goes beyond TSA agents, however. As commentator Lew Rockwell recently noted, the bill “enshrines the key lesson of the freedom philosophy: the government is not above the moral law. If it is wrong for you and me, it is wrong for people in government suits… That is true of TSA crimes too.” The revolt against TSA also serves as a refreshing reminder that we should not give in to government alarmism or be afraid to question government policies.

Certainly, those who choose to refuse the humiliating and potentially harmful new full body scanner machines may suffer delays, inconveniences, or worse. But I still believe peaceful resistance is the most effective tool against federal encroachment on our constitutional rights, which leads me to be supportive of any kind of “opt-out” or similar popular movements.

After all, what price can we place on our dignity, personal privacy, and physical integrity? We have a right not to be treated like criminals and searched by federal agents without some reasonable evidence of criminal activity. Are we now to accept that merely wishing to travel and board an aircraft give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminality?

Also, let’s not forget that TSA was created in the aftermath of 9/11, when far too many Americans were clamoring for government protection from the specter of terrorism. Indeed it was congressional Republicans, the majority party in 2001, who must bear much of the blame for creating the Department of Homeland Security and TSA in the first place. Congressional Republicans also overwhelmingly supported the Patriot Act, which added to the atmosphere of hostility toward civil liberties in the name of state-provided “security.”

But as we’ve seen with TSA, federal “security” has more to do with humiliation and control than making us safe. It has more to do with instilling a mindset of subservience, which is why laughable policies such as removing one’s shoes continue to be enforced. What else could explain the shabby, degrading spectacle of a long line of normally upbeat Americans shuffling obediently through airport security in their stocking feet?

TSA may be merely symbolic of much bigger problems with the federal government, but it is an important symbol and we have a real chance to do something about it. We must seize this opportunity, before TSA offers some cosmetic compromise or the media spotlight fades. If you don’t live in my congressional district, please consider contacting your member of Congress and asking him or her to cosponsor HR 6416, the American Traveler Dignity Act of 2010. With enough help, we can push the bill to a vote early next year. Unless grassroots Americans take action, federal agencies like TSA will continue to bully us and ignore our basic constitutional freedoms.

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122 Comments:

  1. it dosent sound like the people of the US actually have any say in their government anyore – but, you people never wanted to vote anyway, so has much really changed?

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  2. If the American people allow themselves to be subjected to violations like this, THE TERRORISTS HAVE ALREADY WON!

    Thanks, Ron Paul, once again, for speaking out with us.

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  3. 1 Liberal disliked

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  4. So the next muslim suicide attack will probably be by swallowing an explosive. Then what? X-rays for the rest of us every time we fly? A simple passport check would have halted the diaper bomber.

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  5. The Doc sounds really pissed off

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  6. Abolish the TSA altogether. It isn’t necessary. Airports and airlines can hire their own security and get rid of all this gestapo bullshit.
    I hate big government.

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  7. Politicians….seen one, seen ’em all. This Guy is no more trustworthy than any of the rest. Beware…

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  8. Alex Jones ….buy silver for the coming crash of the dollar,and finall y Ron Paul a true American Patriot,from a patriotic brit,who now lives in BROKE Spain!! stay safe…ye right!!!

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  9. Hopefully if we get to vote again for president in the year 2012 the Ron Paul Movement will have swept the country and we will have made HIM president so that HE CAN DO what ALL the rest just LIED about doing to get the VOTE!

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  10. I’m looking forward to my “pat-down.” I’ll be moaning out loud and pumping air the whole time.

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  11. The Israeli approach to security works with no feel-ups or x-rays. They use highly intelligent agents educated in psychology who ask probing questions and watch the reactions of people as they answer. If we really cared about security, we’d use this approach. I think it’s more about selling hardware to enrich Michael Chertoff, et al.

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  12. Leftovervictim1991

    Legalize Freedom! Ron Paul For America 2012!!!

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  13. TSA should be eliminated and the security handed back to the airlines and also have it impossible to sue the airlines for something as petty as profiling.

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  14. ososweeeeeeeeeeeeeet

    HomeHitlerLandAdolf Security

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  15. One thing is for sure…..They are not trying to stop bombs.

    They don’t search in the va-jay-jay or in the ba-dunk-a-dunk….2 places that a bomb could be hiding. So this thing is FOR SURE a farce.

    It is ONLY being done to test and condition Americans. It is more liberty taken away in the NAME of terrorism.

    Glad to see a lot more Americans waking up and drawing the proverbial line in the sand. Now to make it a reality.

    MORE THAN ONE DAY – JUST SAY “NO WAY”

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  16. People got to understand the Govt is basically saying here “Hey americans YOU ARE THE TERRORIST! So get used to all of this.” I’ve been saying for a long time this TSA will be stopped and I think by early 2011 or sooner its gone. I’m sure something else will pop up, but it will be gone. Our govt fooled most people and now most people are paying for it. Remember The Govt is supposed to fear the people, not the other way around!

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  17. TSA = Police State.

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  18. My solution– if I were president, would be to begin to finance the contruction of vacuum tunnels for supersonic magnetic rail trains to replace the airlines and take big trucks off of the interstate. An interstate supersonic subway system would take generations to complete, but once finished; it could carry you from New Orleans to New York in 30 minutes.

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  19. The fourth amendment nullifies this TSA garbage. I’ve never flown because of the invasion of privacy that has always been present at airports (in my lifetime) and has only increased over the past few years.

    Ron Paul should make a 2012 presidential ad showing people being searched by TSA agents and run the graphic, “sexual assault you can believe in.”

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  20. God bless Ron Paul! Thank you speaking up for us ..the American people. Its only going to get worse. We need to speak up for our civil liberties!

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