We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

[I]t’s simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

- Kip Hawley Oh, well done! That only took 10 years.

A retired securocrat would like us to understand a fact that was plainly apparent by noon on September 11th, 2001. A fact that the isolated and terrified passengers of Flight 93 worked out and demonstrated for themselves. In the meantime countless millions of people have been inconvenienced and humiliated in the name of security. And since countless billions have been spent on the pointless bullying, there is now a public superstition and pointless bullying lobby that makes it certain the article will make no difference.

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a queue to be groped by a truculent imbecile, to no purpose but your subordination – forever.

18 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • JohnB

    I get the impression that that has, indeed, been the purpose all along. It is the only rationale that really makes sense.

    So. Yes. There is a rather subtle and simple conspiracy to control.
    Many contrived excuses but the intent is simple to see. Especially in retrospect.

    Our weakness, where it exists, is to think that we can reason objectively but we are all programmable if the right buttons are pushed.

    We are like boats in a sea of opinions and the only real way to see if we are being swept along is to take bearings and compare them over time.

  • James Strong

    Security theatre is not about security; it’s about control and getting people accustomed to doing what they are told, and having to queue to do it.

    I’m a regular flyer out of Heathrow.
    Get through all the security checks and after that go to one of the shops to buy a bottle of water for the flight, because you’ve had to throw your liquids away.
    You are asked to show your boarding card when you buy.
    Why?
    It’s as certain as anything can be that you’re a legitimate outgoing passenger because of the checks you’ve just been through. The retailers might say that it is to help with their marketing and stock, but that is spurious and there is no good reason why customers should be forced to help them with that.

    No, it’s about getting people to accept that they have to follow rules and procedures, even stupid and pointless rules and procedures. It’s about getting people accustomed to doing as they are told.

  • Jacob

    “No, it’s about getting people to accept that they have to follow rules”
    No need to be paranoid.
    Some rules or procedures are just plain stupid. Oops, sorry, I meant: many rules are just stupid. There is no need to seek a hidden, ultimately clever design (to enslave us). They are just stupid, there never was a dearth of stupidity in human affairs.

  • JohnB

    When you see people who are intelligent, tough and resourceful enough to claw their way to the top of the power heap, repeatedly doing difficult, painful and what would seem to be unnecessary things to achieve very little, you really have to ask why.

    I agree, Jacob, there is no need to be stupid and crazy and invent all sorts of whacko ideas.

    The simple truth will do.

  • the other rob

    Guy – your final sentence seemed like SQOTD material, to me.

  • Martin

    Final sentence is an adaptation of Orwell’s mantra from 1984 – “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever”.

    But nicely done, nonetheless.

    I’m undecided whether to don a tin-foil hat and claim it’s all about control, or whether it’s just bureaucracy following the path of least risk to careers…

  • Alisa

    Me too, Martin. In such cased I usually see an equal mixture of both as a default possibility.

  • Alisa

    Hanlon’s razor is a useful rule, but the word to watch for is ‘adequately’. When something cannot be explained by stupidity quite adequately enough, it is worth remembering that malice and stupidity tend to join forces, with the former often using the latter for its own ends. Keynes even quoted Lenin to that effect.

  • Jerry

    Have to agree with Jacob and offer the following as the most eloquent way I’ve ever heard it said –
    ( Have no idea where I got this – perhaps here – but in any case, credit to the originator ! )

    - “The federal government of the US is too stupid to do corruption well, but is corrupt enough to do stupid with almost unparalleled excellence.”

  • Deep Lurker

    I don’t see a grand conspiracy behind airport security. What I do see is a natural reaction by those who view self-defense (and particularly violence in self-defense committed by private persons) as being inherently criminal.

    Thus airport security isn’t designed to stop terrorists, but to stop private individuals from taking action against terrorist hijackings. The TSA and its bosses know (and mourn) that they can’t go back to the golden age of “in the event of a hijacking, stay in your seats, with your hands folded in your laps, and wait for the Official Authorized Experts to deal with the situation” but they still are desperate to do anything – anything at all – to avoid admitting that sometimes private violence in self-defense really is the right answer. Therefore, the primary aim of airport security is to remove from the passengers both the means and the will to resist. Stopping actual terrorists is secondary: If a terrorist slips through, well, that’s a security failure. Bad, but unavoidable. But if a terrorist slips through and is brought down by the passengers, that’s two security failures – and the second failure is even worse than if the terrorist succeeded.

    The goal of the TSA isn’t to prevent another Twin Towers; it’s to prevent another Flight 93.

  • Laird

    “The goal of the TSA isn’t to prevent another Twin Towers; it’s to prevent another Flight 93.”

    A fascinating thesis. I shall have to ponder it.

    Could it be that the TSA has two goals: preventing another Flight 93 and getting people accustomed to doing as they are told?

  • Alisa

    Indeed, Laird. It’s not like TSA is one single person, and so cannot have two logically opposite goals. Not that a single person cannot have two logically opposite goals (such things happen all the time), and not that these two goals are logically opposite anyway. And also, it’s not like TSA is the only government agency behind this insanity.

  • Laird

    Interesting to note that the common assumption among all of us here seems to be that preventing terrorism is not the real goal of the TSA. I wonder how widespread that assumption is?

  • Alisa

    Laird, I’m sure that there are a lot of people throughout relevant government agencies, including the TSA, that truly believe that their, er, work, is indeed helping prevent terrorism. I am not saying that they are necessarily highly intelligent people, mind you. They are government employees, after all. Also, it feels much better to believe that your work is important and good, than to think that you are merely obeying stupid and/or evil orders.

  • Alisa

    I bet [url=http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/penguins-flying-first-class-delight-passengers-delta-flight-160855726.html?fb_action_ids=3024814260783&fb_action_types=news.reads&fb_ref=type%3Aread%2Cuser%3A0kgiZgast849uGqsGyGw9FQA1hM&fb_source=other_multiline]they[/url] didn’t get a pat-down…

    BTW, she’s an Israeli – I’m proud.

  • Alisa

    What on earth have I done? Here.

  • Laird

    BTW, she’s an Israeli – I’m proud.

    Proud because she tweeted about an offensive security patdown once it was safe to do so, or because of how she looks in a bikini? (Either works for me.)