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 thinking, intelligent 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

28 November 2010

The Right to Travel and the Illegimate TSA

As I have often observed, our Declaration of Independence defines legitimate government as government limited to the protection of the equal, sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The protection of our property and the ownership of our own bodies and minds is implied as among those legitimate functions of government.  Any powers exercised by government which do not serve to protect the individual rights of the People are illegitimate and tyrannical in nature.  This establishes the standard by which we are to judge the recent actions of the TSA with its random, warrantless intimate searches of individual's bodies.

The federal government has been under the total control of very committed Progressive Socialist Elitists for nearly two years now.  Early in their tenure, Joe Biden, in a manner consistent with Progressive Socialist dogma going back to the turn of the 20th century, made the very explicit claim that the People only have those privileges which the government chooses to allow them.  This was an explicit rejection of the idea that the individual has sovereign natural rights.  It was a rejection of the Declaration of Independence, which the Progressives have always found to be a particularly objectionable document.  They do not believe it has any place in American law, though in fact, the U.S. Constitution can only be understood in the context of the Declaration of Independence with its claim that the individual has equal, sovereign rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that the purpose of legitimate government is to protect, under the mandate of the individual Americans, these individual rights.  The Progressive agenda requires a government of very strong powers and one which is not at all limited by a respect for the equal, sovereign rights of the individual.  Indeed, they hate the very idea of individual rights.  They replace our sovereign and equal rights with a much smaller set of privileges assigned to the chosen by government officials on as unequal a basis as they wish.

John Pistole, the head of the Transportation Security Administration or TSA, had this to say about the recently enhanced intimate search methods being used on airline passengers:
I see flying as a privilege that is public safety issue. So the government has a role in providing for the public safety and we need to do everything we can in partnership with the traveling public, to inform them about what their options are.  I clearly believe that passengers have a number of options as they go through screening. But the bottom line is, if someone decides they don’t want to have screening, they don’t have the right to get on the plane.
Is it legitimate for the government to claim that traveling by air is a privilege which the government is free to deny?

The local government does have the police power to protect people in general from violence.  It is, however, a stretch of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to argue that the federal government has a role in providing this security.  But, for the sake of this argument, it will be accepted that government in some form has the job of providing travelers with freedom from violence.  The question is whether the TSA is in violation of individual rights and the principle of legitimate government with its intimate random search policy without warrant.  Actually, the latter part of that question is actually obvious.  The TSA is clearly in violation of Amendment IV of the Bill of Rights which states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Warrants issued upon probable cause and upon Oath before a judge are clearly missing in the TSA procedure.  Whatever protection of travelers from violence is to be provided must be done, as it otherwise is in all other aspects of our lives, in accordance with the Bill of Rights.

Note that it cannot be argued that government is saving lives with this intimate search program in violation of the Constitution.  This is because the effectiveness in reducing deaths of these procedures is not really known and because many people will be driven to driving long distances they would have chosen to traverse in the air and driving is much less safe.  It is highly likely that the net number of deaths from the TSA policies will actually increase.  This is not important to the government.  All that is important is that the Progressives will not be blamed for the many additional driving deaths.  It is therefore more important to them to prove that they are serious about American security by putting on a big show in our airports.  This is all about public relations and not at all about real safety.

Is flying a privilege?  Does an individual have a right to travel or not?  If he has a right to travel, is there some reason why that right does not extend to air travel?  As the title implies, I argue that the individual has the right to travel and that right surely extends to travel by air.

To live, man must use his mind to survive and to flourish.  He must be able to produce clothing, housing, food, and many other goods and services to survive and to flourish in life.  This is not an easy enterprise and it is hugely aided if a man can associate freely with others and trade goods and services and other values in his life with them on a voluntary basis.  His life is more secure and enhanced when he can travel to trade goods and services, to visit friends and relatives, or to gather knowledge and trade ideas with others.  Travel has proven to be extremely important as a contributor to man's increasing body of knowledge, not to mention as a means to trade with people who have resources or the means to make products which were not found in other locales.  Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations understood this well. 

Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman of the draft committee to write the Declaration of Independence understood this.  When that document stated that legitimate government was limited to the purpose of protecting the equal, sovereign right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they definitely believed that man had a right to travel.  If I am denied the right to travel by plane from Maryland to Oklahoma to see my mother periodically, my pursuit of happiness is greatly impaired.  My right to earn a living is certainly impaired if I am not allowed to fly to Connecticut to testify as an expert witness in a trial on intellectual theft.  My right to earn a living is also impaired if a customer with a critical materials development issue, or a materials process control issue, or a dubious materials vendor cannot visit my laboratory from Utah or California to participate in the analysis of his materials.  These are not matters of privilege which a legitimate government is free to deny or allow.  These are essential rights of mine by virtue of my requirements to live my life in a state of liberty and for the purpose of my happiness.  It is precisely to secure these equal, sovereign rights that We the People of the United States ordained and established the Constitution for the United States of America and the government it set up and controls.

But the Progressive Elitists do not believe man has a right to travel.  One merely has the privilege to travel, which is about to become more clear because this administration is moving to require intimate, warrantless random searches of travelers by bus, train, trolley car, van, and taxicab.  Well, maybe not by taxicab.  Until these other searches are begun, they may pretend that they are only denying our right to travel by air.  But on what basis?  They have not bothered to tell us.  I am sure it is because they know that their argument will not hold water as many Americans assess it.  They will probably just say that air travel has something to do with interstate commerce and the government has any power it wishes to claim based on the Commerce Clause.  The federal courts have largely allowed them to get away with such arguments, but the argument is absurd in the context that the Framers of the Constitution were trying to set up a government of very limited powers which had no powers that would interfere with our equal, sovereign individual rights.  They were trying hard to help the People to ordain and establish a legitimate government as that was defined by the Declaration of Independence.

But, while the Progressive Elitists have some reservations, usually, about telling the American People they rule that they feel free to ignore both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, many a politician recently bloated with power lust in having near dictatorial powers over the lowly ruled classes, has been very explicit in saying before the camera that he cares not a fig for these great American documents.  Indeed, they snort and laugh at them.  If we examine the literature they trade among themselves we find a combination of derision for the very idea of natural individual rights and limited government powers and many a rationale for interpretations of the Constitution and the purpose of government which circumvent any limits on the development of a tyrannical government.  Of course, while I see this government they seek as tyrannical, they often see it as the Nanny State and think of the People as Children who cling to religion, guns, fatty and sweet foods, fears, and bigotry.  This anti-individual rights literature of the Progressive Elitist movement goes back at least into the 1880s in pretty recognizable forms relative to many of the ideas still held by Progressives today.  Their great admiration of the Prussians then is now mute, as is their claim, acted on by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, that war was very transformational for the production of big government. 

The denial of a right to travel is not the only denial of a fundamental right by the TSA.  The passage of ObamaCare established that this illegitimate Progressive Socialist Elitist government laid claim to the ownership of each American individual's body.  That tyrannical legislation required each of us to acquire health insurance acceptable to the government or pay a large fine or even go to jail for five years.  This was a draconian claim to the ownership of our bodies.  But, that claim, while made, has not yet come to the point where the government is actually touching us yet and subjecting us to specific treatments defined by the insurance they will require us to buy.  Many of the more draconian mandates of ObamaCare are yet to be implemented.  Perhaps to train us to submit docilely to the future death panels of ObamaCare and the long waits in pain for treatment, they are now implementing this slightly smaller scale intimate body search which will assert their claim to the ownership of our bodies.  They are conditioning us now to a state of subjugation.

It is very important to notice that the agenda of the Progressive Socialist Elitist is not just to expand government's powers to allow the next program under discussion.  The real agenda is the eradication of the very idea that man has an equal, sovereign individual right to life, liberty, property, the ownership of his body and mind, and the pursuit of happiness.  They wish to destroy the individual by belittling his very individuality and his ability to choose his own values and to manage his own life.  There is no more fundamental hatred of human beings than this.  That this is so is made all too clear in their many calls to depopulate the world, which they try to justify on the basis of saving the "environment", "man-made global warming", or "sustainable resources."  John Holdren, Obama's science advisor, is among the many who have called for programs to depopulate the world.  One has to expect that one of the purposes of ObamaCare is to cull the American population, given all the Progressive Elitist claims that there are just too many people.  We should expect that it is those of us who are not with them that they wish to cull.  That is, they wish to cull those who proclaim and defend their equal, sovereign individual rights.  For now, they will deny us the right to travel by air.

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