Here at Samizdata we’ve only paid rather sporadic attention to this whole TSA grope and change (a phrase we have surely not heard the last of) thing, our most thorough airing of the issue so far having been in this posting and in its comments. But over at Transport Blog there is an excellently link rich posting about it all, compiled by Rob Fisher.
In particular Rob notes a Slashdot commenter (on this) saying something which particularly deserves to get around:
I don’t even think the TSA should be the one scanning the people at all, it should be the individual airlines. That way you can choose to pay for your security if you really want it, and competitive practices can find the optimal solution.
Indeed, and this was mentioned in passing in the comments on that earlier Samizdata posting. Safety doesn’t need to be imposed by governments. People want safety, but they also want other things (fun, convenience, speed, comfort, not to be embarrassed or humiliated by neanderthals, etc.) and it should be up to people to make the trade-offs for themselves.
Personally, I suspect that an under-discussed aspect of all this is that a lot of people in the USA (as in many other places), and in particular just now in positions of authority and influence in the USA, think that air travel is evil and that curtailing it, by whatever method that works, is just terrific. These people are fast losing the argument about why air travel is evil (global warming blah blah blah), but the terrorism thing gives them an excuse to just keep on hacking away at the abomination (as they see it) of regular people regularly taking to the air. And the more that regular people squeal that they ain’t gonna fly no more, the merrier these flying-is-evil killjoys will feel about it all. Protest from the ranks of the newly immobilised is good because that means that it’s really working.