A Free Market in Air Security.


There has been a large uproar about the newly established security procedures at many U.S. airports. Passengers are confronted with newly purchased “advanced imaging technology” machines which show them naked on a computer screen in another room to be viewed by government TSA personnel. In addition to humiliation of the virtual strip search, there are no assurances that the x-rays used by the machines do not have long term adverse health consequences.

Those travelers that opt out of the machines can instead be patted down in an invasive way which includes touching the groin and breast areas of the body. To many travelers neither choice is acceptable for them or their children.

Of course people want to be able to travel safely, but not at the expense of being treated like criminals when they are simply customers wishing to use the service they have purchased.

The reason there is a massive disconnect between the wishes of the airline customers and the government TSA officials in charge of security is because the government operates outside of the marketplace. They have one tool and one tool alone at their disposal, coercion. You have to do things their way or you do not get to use the service you have purchased. Worse yet you could be arrested along the way.

The solution is to remove the government from the equation and allow the free market to operate without interference. This means abolish the TSA and let airlines put in place their own security procedures. They would no doubt provide flights with varying degrees of security.

If travelers wanted to fly with the new imaging machines as a mandatory screening procedure those flights would probably be available for them. Alternatively people may opt for a simple metal detector at the gates instead. People could travel on flights with armed pilots if they choose. They could travel on flights without any guns at all if that is their preference. The point is there would be a multitude of choices available to suit the security screening wishes of each flyer.

The airlines have a vested interest in terror free air travel. Their people are on those flights and it is their multi-million dollar equipment at risk. Additionally their reputations are on the line. The passengers also of course have security as one of their areas of concern. It is proper in a free society to allow the parties with a vested interest to decide for themselves how best to cope with the issues pertaining to their own businesses.

9 comments:

  1. Very excellent post. I couldn't agree more. I have been making these points to my friends and family for quite some time now and I'm glad that others have this same view.

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  2. As a Social Anarchist who is highly critical of corporations and governments this does seem to be one problem which a Free Market offers a legitimate solution to.

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  3. Another reason not to fly in a plane for me...never liked them... I agree with article and above comment and who knows five years down the line we might have this tech at the footie stadium or perhaps the civic center..crazy days..If I designed a plane the fuselage would be built in independent sections held in place with explosive bolts and all with their own separate deployable parachutes. These sections floating to earth after any catastrophic plane malfunction and providing life raft qualities..think Apollo space ship re-entry. Also personal parachutes why not, probably a few who wish they were mandatory on all planes who are too dead to comment..peace to all..

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  4. I like the idea, but that just makes it easier for the bad guys to pick and choose the easiest access to an airplane. As they say, "The enemies can see your tracer bullets too"

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  5. People should be able to weigh for themselves the potential increased security of these procedures vs. the humiliation of being seen naked or felt up...not to mention the health risks of the ionized radiation.

    The government has no business messing with private exchange of services. The hijacking issue is irrelevant now with reinforced cockpit doors and guns in the cockpit.

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  6. The problem with such an idea is that a hijacked plane not only endangers those who opted to be on the less intrusive security plane, but also those on the ground. While it is fair for one to decide what risks one wants to take for one's self, one cannot make these decisions for others. In the end of the day, a pat down seems like a small price to pay to keep another 9/11 from happening.

    One can argue that, in fact, airlines will be motivated to maintain high security measures because it is their money and reputation on the line. However, this argument has two flaws in it. 1) If they are so motivated to keep their flights safe, their security measures will not be all that different from the TSA's, and thus, the intrusive security procedures will remain. 2) It would only take one lax airline to lead to a national disaster.

    In the end of the day, the TSA provides a minimum security standard that protects us all. Are they incompetent? Probably, but that merely means that their measures need to be reformed, not abandoned completely. Additionally, if one is so opposed to these security measures, there are always cars and boats. Slower forms of travel may be the price one has to pay to maintain one's privacy.

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  7. There is not going to be a hijacked plane with the steel reinforced doors and the gun in the cockpit.

    That is a critical point. With no hijacking possible you are again left with just two parties to the issue, the airlines and the passengers.

    They should be able to decide for themselves the level of security they wish to have. No one on the ground will be affected.

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  8. I would encourage a critical cost-benefit analysis of this proposition for those of you who agree with it. Get rid of government influence. Right, and let completely arbitrary and unregulated safety protocols be adapted in different localities based on the discretion of credible experts on airport safety, or not. With a disparity between state airport protocol, wouldn't you imagine there to be a subsequent targeting of airports with lessened standards? This proposal is nonsense.

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  9. @the last anonymous. You are missing the point. with a gun in the cockpit and reinforced doors the risk is hijacking is nil. The risk of a hijacking should be borne by the only 2 relevant parties, the airline and the customer. You will still be free to be seen naked or groped if you wish if you think that will make you safer.

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