A nation of five-year-olds

You know that we’ve reached a new level of Sovietization when you’re treated to statements from the Transportation Security Administration claiming confusion to be all a part of the plan. If you’re confused then the terrorists will be confused too. Freedom’s last hope is that nobody knows what’s going on, and the subtext is that not establishing a protocol publicly allows the TSA to be “flexible.” Just remember that even in their flexibility, the organs never make mistakes.

Let’s be honest, the TSA personnel who deal with passengers are pretty much the same just-enough-above-minimum-wage-to-justify-wearing-the-uniform rent-a-cops that the airlines used to hire before “the day that everything changed.” The only difference is that now they have the full weight of federal law enforcement behind their badges and some sort of conviction that they’re keeping the world safe from evil. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that some of them can barely read; no protocol is going to be effective when implemented by the incompetent.

But that’s just my disgruntled, i now hate airports, self bitching. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing anyone…not even super-genius, secret government agents with perfect teeth and a lovely December tan…can do to make us perfectly secure. So it really doesn’t matter who’s manning the TSA checkpoints; at least those folks have a semi-decent, if rotten, job. Hopefully they can pay the bills.

What i don’t understand is the idea that Americans are entitled to perfect security. Here we are (and for the record, all the troops stationed everywhere in the world are you and i) crashing around the globe and blowing shit up, yet those of us in God’s country should face no threat. And for the most part, we don’t face any threat. Nobody’s bombed any of the weddings i’ve been to over the last few years. I’ve never thought, “I don’t think i should go downtown, because somebody might suicide bomb where i shop.” I’m convinced that the Canadians will launch their plan for world domination any day, by invading the social and evolutionary cul-de-sac of America where i live. But as of yet i have not had to contend with RCAF close air support in the neighborhood.

Still here we are, gripped by fear and willing to submit to whatever the organs say is necessary to protect us. Hunter Thompson used to say that we’re a nation of pigs. I disagree. (Unless he was being Orwellian.) The comparison is unfair to that noble and intelligent, barnyard beast. We’re a nation of five year-olds whose parents don’t say, “No, no, there’s no bogeyman in the closet because there’s no such thing as the bogeyman.” Our parents keep telling us that the bogeyman is real and he’s out to get us. He could be in any, or every, closet. In fact, he probably is in every closet!

True, it is a good way to keep us out of the porn collection and drug paraphernalia.

I’m not being glib nor am i underplaying all those “very real dangers” that we face in the post-9/11 world. I’m saying that if we don’t want to live with the dangers then we might want to stop provoking them. I’m saying that there is no such thing as perfect safety and security; you are going to die someday and you probably won’t go to heaven. And i’m saying that our government consistently overplays any actual threats (and their probability) in order to control us through fear.

I know i’m right because any terrorist organization worth its holy book would have stopped trying to blow up airplanes in flight. They would have started walking into the ticketing areas of American airports and blowing themselves up right there. There’s no fancy security to get to check-in. There are plenty of people to kill, dramatically so. And such an act would be more effective at terrorizing the American people than some guy lighting himself on fire above Detroit.

19 replies »

  1. I don’t think we’re a nation of five-year-olds so much as we’re a nation of cowards. A one-in-16-million chance of having a terrorist on a plane is enough to cause people to cancel their flights.

    As a people, we’re scared of our own shadows.

  2. I certainly don’t disagree, JS. It’s only that i find the level of irrational cowardice roughly equivalent to the irrational fear that a five year old experiences because of monsters in closets.

    America runs on fear, and the politicians use that fear adeptly.

  3. Given their general life experience and average level of cognitive development, I think this post is an insult to five-year-olds everywhere.

  4. Thankfully most five-year-olds don’t read and write well enough to come here and tell me what an asshole i am.

    But that’s part of the reason i didn’t scimp it. I know the wrath of angered five-year-olds…it’s nothing to to fool around with. One can be handled; it’s when they come at you in packs.

    Edit: looks like the scrimp fairy has struck again.

  5. “Just remember that even in their flexibility, the organs never make mistakes.”

    Indeed, some mistakes are more easily avoided if the organ retains flexibility.

  6. Nice post.
    Well, let’s see…3,000 Americans died on 9/11. We’ve been fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan, what, six…seven years now. Our casualty rate hasn’t hit a thousand. Now, how many of them or their countrymen, innocent civilians have we killed? Hundreds of thousands? If 9/11 was in response to our occupation of their land…wouldn’t our BOMBING their people provoke many, many more, and even larger attacks? This is our FIRST real terror attempt since 9/11? And people are saying security dropped the ball? How many flights, events, major events and gatherings have we had since 9/11 where NOTHING happened. If WE have declared some kind of war on Islam, or Radical Islam, OR, if there is a group of people out there who want to destroy us…then they are losing miserably and are not very good at it. Think about it…we have this so-called enemy, that HATES us more than anything…and we are not seeing AT THE VERY LEAST an ATTEMPT at an attack every single day? We’ve killed hundreds of thousands, displaced, wounded millions of women and children…and their response….
    a guy with some explosives in his underwear?
    We’ve been bombing the &%@$ out of them for years…but we…WE are the ones who are supposed to be afraid?!?
    I’m not afraid of terrorists…and I’d sooner take my chances with them than Wall St.,US Bankers or our own politicians any day…THOSE are the people I’m afraid of. Terrorists aren’t taking our jobs, houses or health-care away from us.

  7. What Steve said and more. Bravo to this article. Americans need to pull their collective head out of their ass and start seeing things for what they really are. The sooner we get going on revolution the sooner we can shake of this nonsense.

    Let’s have an American Jihad!

  8. All brave talk and I agree. Homeland Security has taken us for more of a ride than any ticket we have bought. What are you all proposing? Other than the obvious- recall our military from the rest of the world – we need a once through airport screener as you enter the terminal. That’s it. And we have the brains to come up with the technology.
    Oh, another thing. Now with all the publicity, this is a great time for a new beginning. Get rid of that name “Homeland” mein froids. We have the Department of the Interior; how about Interior Security?

  9. There are some who aren’t scared, who actually look forward to this chaos and fear. They’re the one’s waiting for the “Rapture” to take them away to heaven. Sadly, my own mother is among them.

  10. But Lex, there ARE bogeymen about – just not the ones that we thumb-sucking morons seem to be obsessed with. Be very afraid.

    They are called special-interests (the men behind the transparent curtain that create all the news, but whom you never see on MSM newscasts or their repetitions in the echo-chamber) and they have destroyed our government’s ability to do anything rational by putting their interests first and the public good last. They own our so-called representatives and administrators and write the laws and rules which the reps dutifully pass and recite to the public with the thinnest veneer of “good-doing”.

    A very small and hardly significant example this week (not to mention the bazillions being transferred to the “too-big-fail” private hands from the public treasury) is that every single body, from the president on down and throughout the media, has referred to the “Christmas bloomer-bomber incident” as an attempt on “Northwest flight ump-ti-ump” when, in fact, Northwest has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines since March, all of its aircraft have been repainted to wear the Delta logo (don’t believe your eyes when they show you a picture of the plane wearing a Delta logo, believe what we are telling you – it was a Northwest flight), all of its bonus-mileage accounts have been converted to Delta-miles some months back, and, this month, the merger is to get final FAA/congressional approval. Now why (in my best conspiratorial tone) would anyone want to associate this colossal cluster-f***-up with Northwest? Could it be (in my best imitation of the Church-lady) that Northwest has almost completely disappeared… and will completely disappear,,, within a matter of weeks and Delta doesn’t want all this dirt on it’s brand name? – even though its deafening PR pitch is that it is now the world’s largest airline (thanks to the mindless deregulation of a privatized natural monopoly) and the only U.S. carrier to service not only Europe, but Africa (Northwest’s contribution to the merger) as well. Repeat after me – Northwest bad, Delta good. I know so because I saw it on TV – between ads for male-enhancement pills and clairvoyants.

  11. From “Democracy in America” (Alexis de Tocqueville):

    I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavouring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest—his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellowcitizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not—he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labours, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal Concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters can not penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are
    constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

  12. The obvious conclusion of your piece, Mr. Lothar, is that Richard Noggin Cheney is the youngest of all of us.

    I live in a small town in Kansas and our primary impact on the rest of the world is that we make lots of pet food. But by god, we are scared to death of them tarists!

    Oh, its so lovely to be home on the range, where the nuts and the right-wing whacks play! Where seldom is heard a truly sane word, and the people love Dickie all day.

  13. I remember my first time in a non-US international airport. Got out of customs, looked around and saw, not bored pseudo-security guards, but uniformed soldiers at attention with BIG FUCKING MACHINE GUNS. Because in that country, places like markets and cab stands and train stations got blown up. It was one of those moments when your brain… shifts a little.

    I don’t think (and this could be an erroneous belief on my part) that the majority of Americans often cross international borders other than Canada or Mexico; live in or visit places where there are bullet holes in building walls and shell craters in vacant lots; or have ever seen real people, up close, in line for food and water to survive. This isn’t meant as an excuse for ignorance, but perhaps just an observation that human beings are very, very good at ignoring what isn’t thrust upon them.

    Sometimes I have nightmares about trying to raise and protect my four-year-old girl in a war zone or a refugee camp or even a post-apocalyptic scenario. Some of those dreams wake me up sweating or crying; then I go into her room, to watch her sleep in a warm house with a full pantry in a wealthy suburb, and I can breathe again. But all over the world women just like me, except for an accident of birth or circumstance, don’t get to wake up to a different reality.

    And some people can’t seem to understand the desperation that feeds terrorism.