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Yet another problem with liberalism

The other day on the radio, the talk-show guy was talking about the airport security guys who've been copping feels under the guise of "security screenings." He was arguing against that in favor of profiling passengers. He said one thing, though, that just crystallized the whole matter for me.

"They're looking for bombs. I want them looking for bombers."

He was dead right, and he summed up one of the biggest problems liberals have today. They believe that if you simply remove the means that people use to be bad, they'll stop being bad.

Got a problem with people bringing weapons and/or bombs on airplanes? Presume EVERYONE will have them and want to use them, and frisk them all equally thoroughly. Got a problem with people shooting each other? Presume that everyone who has a gun is just one bad day from going postal, and toss up all the roadblocks you can to keep the guns out of everyone's hands.

Some conservatives are just as bad. Some sex offenders and child molesters like porn? Ban it ALL. Some people using illegal drugs do dangerous and/or criminal things? Ban them ALL, lock 'em up, and throw away the key.

It all boils down to a fundamental unwillingness to trust people to act responsibly, combined with an unwillingness to actually hold them accountable when they don't.

I can kind of understand it. If given a choice between confronting a person over their misconduct directly and asking a whole group to make a common sacrifice "for the greater good" or "for the children," I know which I'd find easier. But as so often is the case, "easier" is usually not "better" or "fairer."

I guess I just disagree with the notion that if you limit the ways in which people can misbehave, you limit actual misbehavior. It's been my observation that those who want to do wrong will do so, and no silly laws or barriers aimed at gently dissuading them will do a damned bit of good. I'm much more comfortable with the "innocent until proven guilty" model, which presumes people will NOT go whacko just because they can.

The finest example of just how foolish it is to hope that such tactics will achieve anything was a five-year-old boy I once knew. His parents were bound and determined to raise him free of violence, and had therefore banned him from owning any type of toy guns, knives, or any other type of weapon. His favorite toy was a squeaky, rubber railroad locomotive.

Which he carried around and pointed like a gun, shouting "Bang! Bang!"



Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Yet another problem with liberalism:

» The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill linked with Guns don't kill, people do, or how I learned to l

» Pajama Pundits linked with A Litmus Test for Logical and Practical Rights

» Cry Freedom linked with The problem with rigid thinking

» Anywhere But Here linked with Ain't Misbehavin'

Comments (25)

The whole focus of the Isra... (Below threshold)

The whole focus of the Israeli air travel security process -- which is proven to be the most effective at stopping and also identifying terrorist among possible passengers -- is devoted to identifying the terrorist, not the tools of terrorism.

That is, the focus is on the TYPE OF PERSON, the individual who displays certain behaviors and psychology that indicates a problem and not on the tools, items, implements, whatever else they may or may not be carrying. The search process is focused on identifying terrorists as individuals and not on identifying problematic items and implements.

Which is a successful model of anti terrorist (and anti crime, for that matter) processes at work.

Unfortunately, due to one of the favorite misguided ideas by liberalism is that there should be no "profiling" of persons, such as is the most successful anti-terrorism/anti-crime process used in Israel to discourage/prevent terrorism, particularly using the airline.

It's -- of course -- wrong and awful for anyone in authority/law enforcement/security to categorize people negatively based upon mere social/racial/whatever stereotypes, and most reasonable people never even consider acting that way, but, unfortunately for the U.S., liberalism again runs amok by taking that sort of behavior into paranoid, fearful areas by assuming all authority will engage in stereotyping and therefore can't rely on any form of generalized examination of human beings.

Thieves steal. Murderers murder. Bombers bomb. It's not 'wrong' to apply certain seasoned, trained measures by which other people are evaluated, psychologically and about their behaviors and intentions, but, again and unfortunately, liberals decry that sort of reckoning as "profiling" and make it seem that it's wrong to conclude any negative about anyone of any type, color, gender, problem or psychology, in any affiliation of deed to character.

Which is completely foolish. Ask anyone who perceives a problematic person, who may or may NOT have one skin color or another, be of one nationality or another, one gender or another, one behavior or another, and they'll first tell you that they had an instinct based upon some association they perceived about another person based upon experience...

I agree with you, Jay Tea, is what I mean here. To closely examine, especially, males in their late teens, early twenties and early thirties from certain countries known to foster terrorism is not wrong, it's just good sense.

I realize that not everyone from those areas will have anything to do with terrorism (or the equivalent about other peoples, where other problems are concerned), but it's also just part of being alive today to deal with the wrongful assumptions of others at certain intense times and to establish yourself as contrary to those wrongful assumptions. Unfortunately, liberals conclude differently.

It's been fun, but I'm out ... (Below threshold)

It's been fun, but I'm out of here. This post is a major stretch of logic and reason. Are you really blaming invasive searches on liberals? Dude, Clinton has been out of office for 4 years. Get over it. You can't blame liberals (who are not in power) for everything bad that happens.

I'm beginning to think you're a bonafide idot. Buh-bye.

Congrats Jay!Looks... (Below threshold)

Congrats Jay!

Looks like you made another dim witted liberal’s head explode.

Keep up the good work!

I blame the Libs. The ACLU ... (Below threshold)

I blame the Libs. The ACLU has filed suit against airlines that even give the appearance of profiling. The TSA has levied fines on airlines for allegations of profiling. I blame the Libs. Those carping old nagging housewives of American politics. And I blame the GOP for always trying to please the Libs and the mainstream media -- ooops that redundant.

Had to appreciate Blogesota... (Below threshold)

Had to appreciate Blogesota's telling notion that if it's bad and it happens right now it must be the President's fault.

I guess it's nice to keep your ideology simple - less bother with thinking that way.

Hmm... Blogesota, I don't r... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Hmm... Blogesota, I don't recall mentioning Clinton anywhere. I've MovedOn from that. Why can't you?

And I was only addressing one aspect of a certain mentality, showing where both liberals and conservatives tend to fail. It just happened to be a liberal idiocy that started the thought process. Project much, boychik?


Of course the point is that... (Below threshold)

Of course the point is that liberals are not in charge. Haven't been for 4 years. I really admire how hard you work to avoid the truth.

Ok, Jay Tea, I am not sure ... (Below threshold)

Ok, Jay Tea, I am not sure why you equate TSA security screeners with "liberals," but if you are arguing that profiling is the way to go, you are right to imply that such action is inimical to liberalism, since liberalism operates under the assumption that you endorse later in your post (innocent until proven guilty model).

If you start profiling, you are making the exact opposite assumption (the assumption of guilt rather than innocence).

Further complicating matters is the question as to how we define the "profile"? Race, class, ethnicity, some other factor? Since bombing of planes and hijackings are extremely rare, there is no identity characteristic of statistical significance relating to this sort of activity and, hence, profiling is a worthless endeavor from a strategic point of view.

What do you mean the libera... (Below threshold)

What do you mean the liberals aren't in charge?

Ask the ACLU if they will let "Boy King George" do anything that goes against their mission statement?

He who complains loudest...is in charge. Its the far extremes that run this country. Most everyone inbetween responds with..."dude...whatever"

Yes of course liberals have... (Below threshold)

Yes of course liberals have nothing to do with the TSA and the antiprofiling movements
Norm Mineta? He's a BibleThumping AynRand Cryptofascist :)

It's certainly true though that Bush is enabling this, but the problem is that DC as whole is so PC this notion of looking for actual criminals will never fly, else the NYT & Robert Byrd will whine about evil, racist, Republicans

If you start profiling, ... (Below threshold)

If you start profiling, you are making the exact opposite assumption (the assumption of guilt rather than innocence).

No, profiling is a legitimate and legal tool used to support either reasonable suspicion to detain and investigate or probable cause to arrest.

Further complicating matters is the question as to how we define the "profile"? Race, class, ethnicity, some other factor?

All of the above. And it's not complicated.

Since bombing of planes and hijackings are extremely rare,

Wrong again -- especially if you consider the attempts, conspiracies, etc.

there is no identity characteristic of statistical significance relating to this sort of activity and, hence, profiling is a worthless endeavor from a strategic point of view.

Hijacker/Terrorist profiles based on sizeable samples have been used in court since the early 1970s if not the 1960s. It has been, and will continue to be, a useful and legal tool.

Thank you for sharing your very ignorant opinion.

I thought Blogesota just sa... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

I thought Blogesota just said he was out of here?

Funny interpretation of 'out of here', I guess.

At the risk of setting myse... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

At the risk of setting myself up for another list-bombing, I'll disagree with America Joe here -- if you look at the total number of major terrorist incidents in the US, I think you'll find that the demographic group of "Arabic males between the ages of 18 and 39" is drastically out of skew with a statistical norm. But I'm just guessing here.


Dear Counselor Julie,... (Below threshold)

Dear Counselor Julie,

If you are going to try and argue points, it might help for you to site facts and not be guided by idiocy.

Detaining people according to a racial, ethnic, or religious profile is against the law. You may want to take a look at Choi v Gaston 220 F.3rd 110, 1012 (9th Cir. 2000).

Bombing and hijackings are EXTREMELY rare. The number of hijackings in THE HISTORY OF US AVIATION is less than 1,000. Consider that in the first 9 months of 2004 there were about 7.5 million domestic flights in the US. Even if all of the hijackings in aviation history had occured in the first 9 months of 2004 they would have still represented a very small percentage of flights.

America Joe, you're overloo... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

America Joe, you're overlooking that hijacking isn't their goal, but a tactic. Their goal is terrorism, and hijackings is just one means toward that end. If you look at terrorist incidents, that's where profiling could be useful. But keep on hunting for grannies smuggling bombs while they come up with a new tactic...


Actually, Jay Tea, if you l... (Below threshold)

Actually, Jay Tea, if you look at the history of hijackings in the US, they have mostly been perpetrated by Cubans. I believe that Wells' book, "Commercial Aviation Safety," has some stats.

The problem is that 99.999 of "arabic males between 18 & 39" are just poor schmucks trying to get from Point A to Point B like the rest of us.

This type of profiling can also take away resources from finding real trouble makers. Remember the first big breach of aviation security post-9-11? It was from the "shoe bomber"--a young British guy!

So who should be profiled now? All males between 19 & 39????

Joe, lemme get you a band-a... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Joe, lemme get you a band-aid. You just shot yourself in the foot. Richard Reid, the erstwhile shoe bomber, was a Muslim. Thank you for helping me make my case for profiling.


Oh, and Joe, I think he was... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Oh, and Joe, I think he was also at least part Arabic.


JT, I am not sure ... (Below threshold)


I am not sure who the "they" are in your statement: "their goal is terrorism."

This is the whole problem with waging a "war" on terrorism. You can't do it. Terrorism is method of utilizing violence to acheive political ends.

It is absurd when someone like Bush says that terrorists are simply "enemies of freedom." That's idiotic. If a terrorist organization like al-Quaeda simply hated freedom, they should have gone after someone with a bit weaker military, like Norway or something!

Al-Quaeda has actual goals that are quite explicit--in fact they won on one of them (getting US troops out of Saudi). They use mechanisms at their disposal to try and acheive their goals.

The problem of Bush throwing all "terrorists" into one camp is that without a full understanding of the differences between various terrorist groups, you engage in pretty poor policy decisions--of which the Iraq war is the prime example. This, in effect, is profiling on a large scale and does absolutely nothing to deal with the problem--in fact it exacerbates it.

My mistake, Joe. Reid was h... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

My mistake, Joe. Reid was half British, half Jamaican. But he definitely was a Muslim convert.


JT-RE: Richard Rei... (Below threshold)


RE: Richard Reid

I'm not sure how it's a "shot in the foot." Your profile was "Arabic males between 18-39." (You didn't make mention of religion)

Reid is British (English mum & Jamaican father).

The Reid example should further show the complexity if one wants to make an accurate profile.

The alternative would be to just clamp down on everybody.

Joe, the "they" are the ter... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Joe, the "they" are the terrorists -- or, if you prefer, the radical Islamists who have chosen terrorism as their favored tactic. And they went after us because we were the biggest, most in-your-face target around, AND we spent way too many years playing pattycake and generally appearing to be weak and indecisive in the face of confrontation (thank you, Presidents Clinton, Carter, and (to a degree) Reagan. Bush I and the First Gulf War was an aberration, and (to them) the American people punished him for it by failing to re-elect him.

The actual goals of Al Qaeda are quite clear -- the establishment of the Caliphate in the world. They want to start by cleansing the Arab World (including Israel) if non-Islamic influences, then cow the rest of the world. The biggest obstacle to their doing that, right now, is the US. If they can get us to back down again (as we did in Iran in '79, Lebanon in '82, Mogadishu in the 90's, and several other examples), they can use that victory to rally yet more supporters.

And the reason they didn't go after Norway, or any other European nations, is that they're using other tactics there. Look at the Theo Van Gogh case in the Netherlands. Or the rising problems of Muslim youth gangs in Paris and Australia. Or England and Canada on the verge of recognizing the validity of Sharia law in their legal system.

We're the biggest military threat, so we get the force used on us. It's simply a matter of using what works best, and previously violence has done wonders to discourage US involvement.

But no more.

Never again.


Joe, at 1 in the morning I ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Joe, at 1 in the morning I confused "Arabic" and "Muslim." I know they're not synonymous, but there is a considerable overlap. And I remember reading a while ago the terrorists were trying to recruit non-Arabic Muslims to do their dirty work, which to me suggests that they recognized profiling as a legitimate threat to their goals.


A.J.: If you are g... (Below threshold)


If you are going to post a legal citation, try doing it correctly if you expect people to actually find it.

If you are going to try ... (Below threshold)

If you are going to try and argue points, it might help for you to site facts and not be guided by idiocy.

I am not trying to argue points, I am arguing legal points. Very basic ones, by the way, based on 35 years of federal case law. That you deem them "idiocy" shows what a dolt you are.

Bombing and hijackings are EXTREMELY rare. The number of hijackings in THE HISTORY OF US AVIATION is less than 1,000. Consider that in the first 9 months of 2004 there were about 7.5 million domestic flights in the US. Even if all of the hijackings in aviation history had occured in the first 9 months of 2004 they would have still represented a very small percentage of flights.

Glad you think so. But the feds have come up with statistical samplings for hijackers and terrorists that have passed federal judiciary muster for over 35 years. Though you may disagree with the federal courts, it just proves once again what a dolt you are.






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