The recent media screech over the TSA airport security procedures would be funny if it weren’t for the insidious purpose behind it—the purpose behind the media message, that is.
Let’s be clear about a couple things. In the first place, the intrusive airport security measures would not stop a single terrorist with a death-wish and half a brain from blowing up any airplane she wanted. If I were a terrorist who wanted to achieve maximum impact, I wouldn’t try to take down a passenger plane to begin with; I would take down the entire airport. A bomb capable of destroying a sizeable chunk of any major airport in the US could be packed in a modest suitcase, wheeled in, and detonated in a highly populated area without passing through any security screening at all. Which would get the most attention, which would cause the most disruption to the system, taking out a single plane or shutting down a major airport?
But more importantly, airport security is not about security, it is about control. It is a way of keeping the masses cowed and submissive. That is the real purpose behind all surveillance: “We’re watching you, so don’t step out of line.”
There are two related reasons that the news media have been drawing our attention to the invasiveness of the TSA screenings with such gusto. First, it is an issue guaranteed to generate controversy, and thus ratings. It is an issue about which any redneck moron is capable of forming a “reasoned” justification for his or her reflexive and uninformed opinion, and the news media feed on the ignorance and vanity of morons.
Second—and this is the insidious part—it is a way of inoculating the masses against future thoughts of resistance. Remember, the news media are part of the machine. They can serve no interests other than those of the machine. The media would never highlight the evils of the machine unless it is in the best interests of the machine to do so. As for the TSA screening techniques, it is necessary for the efficiency of the machine that we acquiesce to this (and any future) violation of our freedom and privacy.
Invariably, recent TSA news items have been accompanied by a sound bite from some government official or politician or “expert” responding with some version of “that’s the world we live in now, so get used to it.” So the underlying message is that it is necessary for our own safety that we relinquish our humanity. The real purpose behind the media screech is to convince us that we are helpless to resist the machine. By drawing attention to the fact that our freedom is being siphoned out from under our feet and we are helpless to do anything about it, that we have no real recourse, the media grooms a cognitive dissonance that can be quelled only if we accept the ridiculous and demonstrably false notion that it is really for our own good.
I suspect there may be boxcars in our future.