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.


  • We can’t forget that the real enemy here is the Naked Biometric Body Scanners. As we object to the molestation the Body Scanners embed themselves as a norm or the prefered option.

  • aussiedon8

    We can’t forget that the real enemy here is the Naked Biometric Body Scanners. As we object to the molestation the Body Scanners embed themselves as a norm or the prefered option.

  • donatefreedom

    Down With Tyranny!
    visit LibertyPoet

  • The terrorists targeting innocents on the ground is the bigger issue.

  • The terrorists targeting innocents on the ground is the bigger issue.

  • MyVeryBesttoYou

    Youtube is blocking my polite, but informative posts (about what good arguments consist in, about calls for public accountability) on other sites

  • Interesting idea, Needs to be built upon though.

  • Interesting idea, Needs to be built upon though.

  • BlitheTempest

    One dislike. Probably either Pistole or a pedophile.

  • Divinity33372


  • CarmineFragione

    Fully privatizing airlines that people must already be a member and have been profiled and checked, as to any past crimes and terror associations, can fly freely without delays of long lines and searches. Airlines then can compete for granting fast and safe service to normal people, and the people who do not pre qualify by prior screening and licensing but want to travel via government managed airways, can stand in lines and be subject to searches. Most people will voluntarily join clubs.

  • CarmineFragione

    Why not have state I.D.s for Americans, where a security clearance is gained by showing no history of any connection to known active terrorists, who attacked the airlines, then with that one security check, Americans can board without being scanned or searched, by bearing a driver’s licence that includes a security clearance check that one is not a serious criminal, or associated to known active terrorist groups. Only those who cannot pass a State check and pass, would be searched.

  • MyVeryBesttoYou

    After hearing the whole video, I have to say the worry about partisanship expressed in my immediately preceding comment is misplaced.

    You articulate so beautifully what is at issue. Yes, Let us not lose steam, nor be satisfied by some cosmetic fix. I have already written my congresswoman a few days ago about the general issues, and will also write about this particular legislation. I have not heard anyone express any reservations about it nor do I see anything in it that could backfire

  • MyVeryBesttoYou

    I appreciate the legislation you are bringing forth. I also appreciate your leadership. Please don’t use this occasion for promoting other things on your polticial group’s agenda though. We are in the midst of something very important. People are standing against the violations to American civil liberties and standing against violations against human dignity. Let everyone own it, regardless of what political party they are affiliated with.

  • claudette33

    Procedures such as these are brought in slowly, for now we can opt out, however if we do, we’re treated as criminals and subjected in having strangers touch intimate parts of our bodies. They do it on purpose so that most people will just be scanned to avoid being embarassed by an “enhanced” pat down. Eventually they will make scanners manditory. By then it will be too late to fight back.

  • NassimHarameinVedas

    If the TSA gets away with this, the NWO won’t stop there. They’ll put these neo-fascist gestapo into malls, stores etc.
    It’s unbelievable . . . Americans, where is Your Warrior Pride?

  • oculist2020

    Write your congressman? Why not just blow a kiss at him? What remedy you say? Uhhhh, how’bout give the Constitution a read. Hint: State legislatures are far more prone to your individual political pressure.

  • freedomwtruth

    We must not let this go on whether or not we fly or we will find these all over and then it will be too late. Make them remove them from use now !!

  • np1057827

    this guy is pure legend

  • StepUPNJ

    Thanks Ron for reminding everyone of our basic Constitutional rights. This TSA debacle is a sham and a disgrace to our founding principles.