tsa opt out

Today is special, of course: it’s the Feast of St. Cecilia, patroness of music. It’s also the birthday of a good friend. Happy Birthday, Laura! You are truly an amazing witness to your community.


As readers of the The Imaginative Conservative already know, the TSA is nasty, and it seems to be getting nastier by the moment. Here’s the latest statement from the TSA Head (so-called), John S. Pistole:

We welcome feedback and comments on the screening procedures from the traveling public, and we will work to make them as minimally invasive as possible while still providing the security that the American people want and deserve. We are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and as we have said from the beginning, we are seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security. In all such security programs, especially those that are applied nation-wide, there is a continual process of refinement and adjustment to ensure that best practices are applied and that feedback and comment from the traveling public is taken into account. This has always been viewed as an evolving program that will be adapted as conditions warrant, and we greatly appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the American people. 

We cannot forget that less than one year ago a suicide bomber with explosives in his underwear tried to bring down a plane over Detroit. The terrorists allegedly behind the thwarted cargo attempt last month are out there bragging about how they will strike again. We all wish we lived in a world where security procedures at airports weren’t necessary but that just isn’t the case.

If I remember correctly (and I do), a young Dutch professional stopped the terrorism attempt, and the TSA missed it during screening. I trust the Dutch private citizens far more than I trust the TSA to protect my security.

It’s worth reminding the public that the TSA has yet to stop one terrorist, directly.
 Additionally, Pistole is admitting that the TSA is a reactionary agency. Bad guys do one thing, the TSA responds, threat by threat, and only be attenuating Fourth Amendment rights.

Winston, The Imaginative Conservative’s grand patron and mastermind, understandably dislikes me labeling our government as “evil” (only persons are evil—he reminds me, correctly), but the government is simply out of control on this issue. Not surprisingly, our president has publicly defended the TSA’s position:

But at this point, TSA in consultation with counterterrorism experts have indicated to me that the procedures that they have been putting in place are the only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing. (“Obama: TSA pat-downs frustrating but necessary,” MSNBC.COM, November 20, 2010).

Frankly, I’m amazed at the public outcry over all of this. But, I’m also very happy regarding it. It will be interesting, to say the least, to watch the news unfold on November 24, should travelers frustrate the TSA with the opt-out option.

Again, it’s worth stating: the TSA is out of control. I don’t know what to do to prevent its obnoxious and lewd behavior, but it does have to stop. Though I only advocate non-violent resistance, it’s worth noting that Amendment number 2 comes before Amendment number 4 in our Bill of Rights.

I do have one request. Can we please stop referring to our protected personal areas as “junk”?


Though I’m not a fan of George H.W. or George W. Bush, I very much appreciated Barbara Bush’s rather snobbish comments regarding Sarah Palin this weekend. Palin might be perky and spunky and attractive and have her own reality show, but I just can’t see her as the standard bearer of the Republican Party or as President of the United States. I find her immensely embarrassing. There’s been little open discussion about Palin on The Imaginative Conservative, and I invite comments regarding thoughts on Palin and her future.

Popular Culture

My wife and I have been watching AMC’s remake of the 1967 anti-government classic, The Prisoner. Though we’ve only finished three parts of the six-part miniseries, I give the story an A+. Creepy and compelling, to say the least. Additionally, we’ve now watched every episode of Stargate Universe. I must write: I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Nothing gratuitous exists in it. Every scene, every camera angle, every light of dialogue, every note of music has purpose and meaning. At once dark, humane, brutal, enticing, brilliant, despairing, hopeful…. If this is popular culture, it’s popular culture at its highest. At some point in the not too distant future, I hope to write a full review of the first 1.5 seasons.


Finally, today, I want to thank Winston for continuing to support this journal, and I want to thank Julie Robison and John Barnes for their excellent contributions. Steve Masty, I’m also eager to meet you some day. If you ever leave Afghanistan, please let us know.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative BookstoreThe Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

All comments are moderated and must be civil, concise, and constructive to the conversation. Comments that are critical of an essay may be approved, but comments containing ad hominem criticism of the author will not be published. Also, comments containing web links or block quotations are unlikely to be approved. Keep in mind that essays represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Imaginative Conservative or its editor or publisher.

Leave a Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email