Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

15 November 2010

The new TSA full, full, full body search in the context of our individual rights

I just read about the horror of a woman who had undergone the new TSA full body search procedure in which her breasts, buttocks, vagina area and labia were all felt.  This does represent a new way in which we have lost the ownership of our own bodies, but it is not unrelated to many other ways in which the ownership of our bodies and minds has been challenged successfully by government.  I also understand that some will say this trade off of our ownership of our bodies is justified because otherwise the government cannot offer us complete assurance that we will survive a flight.  The decision is not trivial, yet there are reasons why we must draw the line on what the government can do with our bodies, if we are to maintain the ownership of our own bodies.  While I personally would not feel the horror the woman searched in the story did about being so searched, each of us as individuals should have the right to feel or not feel that horror.  Her body is hers.  We must respect that.  And though I do not feel the horror, I do very much resent being searched.  I resented it even more when my 12 year old daughter was searched on 3 legs of 4 legs of a round-trip flight between Baltimore and Tulsa years ago.  Apparently, those searches today would be much more invasive.

The full body search with sexual intimacy is logically consistent with the idea that we as individuals do not own our own bodies and minds.  We are to be forced to buy health insurance approved by elitist bureaucrats, because we are incapable of rationally providing for the care of our own bodies and the state has an interest in the ownership of our bodies.  We are told that we cannot decide when to use a seatbelt, a bike helmet, or whether to use tobacco or marijuana, because the state shares the ownership of our bodies.  We are told in some locales that we cannot eat some foods because some politicians think those foods are not healthy and they own our bodies.  In an earlier day, males were told that they did not own their minds and bodies and that it was appropriate to conscript them and force them to fight in undeclared wars.  We are told that only government-owned or government-approved schools can educate us, because we do not own our own minds, which need to be indoctrinated with ideas beneficial to government control of the People.  For a very long time, government has discouraged people from developing their individual sexuality, once again an infringement upon the individual's right to own their own bodies and minds.

Ideas matter and the direction that many ideas take are often linked.  It is the old story that first they came for the Jews and I was not a Jew so I did not care much.  Then they came for the Gypsies and I was not a Gypsy.  Then they came for the mentally retarded and I was not mentally retarded.  Then they came for the old and the infirm and I was not old and infirm.  Then they came for me and no one else was me, so they did not care.

Our individual rights are many.  They may be summarized as:  every individual has an equal, sovereign right to life, liberty, property, the ownership of their own mind and body, and the pursuit of happiness.  Do not allow any attack on any of our broad rights to succeed because it threatens every other of our rights.  The forceful taking of each of our rights is a preparation for the next assault on the next right.  There can be no compromise on this, because the assaults are never-ending.  Long ago, we allowed the assaults on our property, right to work, right to hire, and income to reduce those rights to sometimes honored privileges.  We lost the right to our minds, when we allowed government to take over education.  We lost our rights to our bodies with the FDA, Medicare, Medicaid, and now ObamaCare.  We can no longer talk about such subjects as racism and affirmative action or the morality of judging people as individuals based upon their individual character on many college campuses run by our governments.  We have never allowed equal expression and equal treatment of people whose sexuality was not both heterosexual and monogamous.

Right after right has been compromised, because few people will defend all of our rights.  The employee does not care about the rights of the employer and thinks it is perfectly fine that the employer must act as an accountant, a tax record keeper, and a tax collector, all unpaid mandates forced upon him by government agents very willing to use force.  The man who earns a living using equipment such as laboratory equipment or that to manufacture goods, is hit hard with property taxes on that equipment, while the lawyer or the accountant is unequally hit with no such devastating tax.  Then the People complain that manufacturing jobs are going overseas and we are only a service economy!  Of course, few of us pay corporation taxes, so why shouldn't the U.S. have the highest corporation taxes in the OECD in 2011?  Of course, we will lament the fact that many U.S. multinationals are expanding operations abroad faster than in the U.S., but does it ever dawn on us that the unequal taxation of corporations is the reason, as well as a violation of the equal rights of the shareholders of that corporation? 

There is a very good reason for a holistic understanding of our rights as individuals and the implied necessity of a government of very limited powers, which our Constitution decreed as the demand of the People.  But the constitutional demand is not very strong when the People have forgotten that they must be the backbone of the Constitution, which by itself can only serve to bridge a momentary lapse of attention by the People.  It is very clear that it is unable to protect the rights of the individual when we pay little attention to them ourselves for a hundred years of determined Progressive attack and not infrequently of Conservative attack!

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