Ron Paul: The Revolt Against TSA

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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 responses to “Ron Paul: The Revolt Against TSA”

  1. aminevich

    2 people voted thumbs down because pat-downs at the airport are the only action they've seen in a LONG while!

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  2. Joe

    I travel a lot. Mostly over seas. I am currently living overseas. As someone who worked for TSA. Remember this. It was private companies that were incharge of your screening at the time of 9/11. Rememeber also that the fear was, at the time, that someone that was not a US citizen could be part of a plot to let in a fellow terrorists and also that if it was a US Citizen they could do a better background check on who is being hired. Something needs to be done with TSA. Needs to have cooler heads running it. Same with Homeland Security, it's parent organization. I left TSA because it wasn't run very well. I could do a hell of a lot better than those that were running it at the time. Also beware. TSA was mostly run by former and at times people still in the military. Most of my Supervisors were or were still in the military.

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  3. Stella

    TSA you will not grope me, you will not fine me, I will not go to court, I will not go to jail, I will not go through a scanner.

    You better get your guns and kill me in front of everyone.

    This woman isn't a little sheep that is going to put up with your Nazism.

    I am not a person who will walk calmly into Auschwitz. I won't go into your little questioning rooms. DEAL WITH THAT! That is a promise!

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  4. willyD200

    We have become a country of robots....do what your told and let the law makers save us from all the bad ....this generation of children will end up as useless zombies ....never having to make a decision on their own.
    We have been convinced we will live forever if we support all these feel good laws!
    Fucking robots we have become....sheep....Have some guts and revolt these fucking idiotic rules! 9 11 was a fucking scam to bring you in line with the police state! Stop this insanity!

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  5. reginald58

    bomb sniffing dogs work the best, the military uses them in Iraq, better than any machine, it's all about money people and control !!!

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  6. CarmineFragione

    I know exactly what you are saying, "mark of the beast" "666" But we Americans can have our own identity and not align with a one world system, it is up to us to be wise, I still believe in the Free Market Place and we can create a security system of our own and maintain our dignity. We already get a license to drive and to own a gun, etc. and register to vote, so we can pre screen our own people, and avoid delays at the airports, and not fall into any traps.

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  7. CarmineFragione

    I know exactly what you are saying, "mark of the beast" "666" But we Americans can have our own identity and not align with a one world system, it is up to us to be wise, I still believe in the Free Market Place and we can create a security system of our own and maintain our dignity. We already get a license to drive and to own a gun, etc. and register to vote, so we can pre screen our own people, and avoid delays at the airports, and not fall into any traps.

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  8. sataye

    I think I understand what you r saying and I agree with some of your comments I don't mean to get religious but this is all leading up to what the bible calls the mark of the beast. One day we won't be able to buy or sell without this mark. It all has a lot to do with identity.

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  9. Matt

    Thank you for your opinion, Mr. Paul. I do hope to see you in the White House in a couple of years. I do think that a key step in getting there, though, is to take the ideals of liberty and your libertarian point-of-view and have a more detailed, practical plan for the American public to get behind.
    There are many voters I know who support your ideals, but do not see how they would practically play out, and therefore, don't trust enough to vote for you. In this case, you make a strong case against the TSA system, but don't answer "so then, what should the system look like in detail....to protect travelers from terrorist acts WHILE preserving our liberties?" We are left with just disposing of the negative part, without instilling a detailed, practical plan for how it should be. Do we actually think we would be safe on airliners without some sort of screening for weapons/bombs/guns?
    I think the same could be said of your plan for privatizing/localizing public schools. The public needs specific details answered such as... what about cities that are poor--do those kids just get an inferior education because their parents aren't rich? How do you deal with one school that is more popular in a "free market" system...how do you decide who gets to go to that school in a fair way?
    How do you keep one state who could have a corrupt local or state government from ruining the education of the entire state of children? (It's a lot of trust to put in local or state govts. who have also been known to have corrupt leaders at times...shouldn't their be some federal standard for learning standards and how to do business similar to the federal govt. monitoring fraud in the private sector?)
    What do you do if no one wants to build a "privatized" school in an "unprofitable" community--how do you ensure those students have an opportunity for education...or do they? There are several tough questions to ask that come with your ideals. Don't get me wrong, I agree with many of them....I'm just saying it would be great if you tweaked your website to offer an in-depth plan on the issues, instead of just skimming over the basics. I think an in-depth plan, with rationale could get more of the public to back you....and hopefully land you in the White House. Thanks for your time!
    -Matt

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  10. CarmineFragione

    If they can search everyone getting on a plane, they can search anyone getting on a train or bus, and what do you know, it's the Nazis and the Commies, two sides of the same old coin, Totalitarianism. So the answer is, ordinary people get a licence from their own state or a private security firm, they are issued a photo ID that checks with what shows up on the Airlines' computers, they see you are not a criminal, nor associated with terrorists and you are cleared for boarding in a jiffy

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    1. Matt

      That sounds great....in theory. But what about the first-time offender? Couldn't someone come in from another country legally, get a license, and then decide to harm people? Or some "normal" U.S. citizen with a license that says they are "normal" could change their perspective, or decide they are now ticked off and want to harm people. (We've seen these terrorist acts around schools and within the U.S.) There is nothing in your system to truly prevent a gun/bomb/terrorist act from harming humans....you are relying on a background check that could become obsolete.
      My point is, you have to have some immediate screening measure before people and luggage board a plane. That is the only truly safe way to ENSURE (not assume) safety. The trick then is, how is this carried out in a fair way that does not turn into totalitarianism?

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  11. CarmineFragione

    If they do the pre-screening, you get the same clearances as one who wants to buy a gun or carry, with a permit. They check your background, your profile and your business, and so everyone who is quite normal, can avoid any delays boarding airplanes, and those pesky terrorists who cannot pass a security background check will have to wait in line for a search. With a pass, you check in and they have your picture and references on the computer, you get cleared right away, and you board.

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  12. CarmineFragione

    What needs to be done is not profiling by race or age or gender, but by "behavior" and the way to whittle the whole lot down is to have people get a secure ID in their home state, even from private firms, that proof your own background and give you a clearance, so, those who get their pre-screening can just to to any airport and get on the plane, without anyone needing to search them. It goes to a behavioral profile, and a records check, no different than permits for guns

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  13. CarmineFragione

    What needs to be done is not profiling by race or age or gender, but by "behavior" and the way to whittle the whole lot down is to have people get a secure ID in their home state, even from private firms, that proof your own background and give you a clearance, so, those who get their pre-screening can just to to any airport and get on the plane, without anyone needing to search them. It goes to a behavioral profile, and a records check, no different than permits for guns

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  14. CarmineFragione

    At least they can't you snoozin' !!!

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  15. CarmineFragione

    At least they can't you snoozin' !!!

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  16. CarmineFragione

    At least they can't you snoozin' !!!

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