TSA, T&A, Taxes, and Theft

TSA tyranny is even worse than it appears.

In our ongoing exploration of the TSA's predation of innocent travelers, Scragged discussed the unpleasant experiences of Playboy model and Baywatch star Donna D’Errico.

While traveling through the airport, she was singled out for a particularly up-close-and-personal examination by a TSA official.  Why?  Because, as the official told her, she'd "caught his eye."

No doubt that is perfectly true; Ms. D'Errico could catch the eye of Stevie Wonder.  In her anger and protest, though, she cut straight to the heart of the matter:

I must have overlooked the clause in both my Playboy and 'Baywatch' contracts stating that once appearing in that magazine, or on that show, I would forever be subject to being seen naked live and in person by anyone, at anytime, under any conditions, whether I agree to it or not, and for free. [emphasis added]

Ms. D'Errico, by random chance, has been blessed with a remarkable physique.  As others with quite different but equally remarkable physiques seek their fortune on the basketball court or the football field, she sought and found hers in soft-core pornography and titillating TV shows.

We argued that the TSA's handling of her was evil, even though they didn't make her do anything she hasn't done many times before, precisely because they were forcing her to do it with no recourse.  Let's put that another way: The TSA used the power of government to force her to provide a peep-show to them free of charge which otherwise she sells for big bucks.

That is theft - in this case also sexual harassment and assault, but most fundamentally, theft.  If Ms. D'Errico does not own her own body - if you do not own and control your own body - then what does "ownership" mean?

Isn't that an important part of the definition of personhood?  Where are the outraged feminists?  Hasn't the National Organization for Women anything to say?

Of Taxes and Theft

Which raises the question - what do you own, really?  We say we own our houses, but even if we actually hold the title deed instead of paying a mortgage, we still must pay annual rent to the government in the form of property taxes.  We can't even improve our own property anymore without government permission, often subject to political pressure or bribery.

If you can't do what you want with what you "own", do you really own it?  At least the Constitution prohibits government from just stealing what it wants:

...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Except that's exactly what happened to Ms. D'Errico: her personal body, which is private property that she normally markets for sale, was taken by governmental fiat without payment.

But we all pay the government taxes; surely Scragged is not arguing for no government and anarchy?

No; but there is a difference between taxes being assessed justly via due process of formal laws fairly administered, and private property being taken by the random whim of an unelected bureaucrat.  The former is, as Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, "...the price we pay for a civilized society"; the latter is robber-barony and thugocracy.

We condemn African kleptocracies whose police, army, and government ministers use the power of their offices to plunder the people.

Our government is also plundering the people, only less so and in a more organized and controlled way, which is what has historically made it acceptable - but that is changing.

Wise kleptocrats don't steal everything from their people, otherwise they starve and there's nobody left to steal from.  Sometimes they miscalculate, as happens a lot in Africa and also North Korea, and a famine ensues.  The North Korean government backed off forbidding private farmers' markets for precisely that reason - dead men pay no taxes.

Our federal government takes, currently, about a quarter of our GNP and regulatory compliance costs another 13-15%; local and state governments take another 15% or so.

Almost everybody would agree that a government confiscating everything is unfair, unjust, and evil, no matter how organized, thorough and "official" it was.  Almost everybody would also agree that government collecting a mere 1% is dangerously small and won't be able to do the necessary tasks of government like national defense and a justice system.

It follows, therefore, that government theft is not black or white; it is a continuum.  The higher the take, the higher the burden of proof of "justice", and the more essential the consent of the governed.

The TSA exemplifies all that is wrong and evil about out-of-control government:

  • Its exactions are random, and do not follow any well-understood principles of either governance or security.  You can be preyed on merely by being unlucky enough to "catch their eye" with no recourse or appeal.

  • There is no predictable limit on what the TSA can take, either by direct confiscation, by interference and delay, or even by arbitrary fine.

  • The service you receive is entirely dependent, not on any principles of justice, but on your own personal political clout.  High government officials have been explicitly exempted from TSA inspections, as have airline employees thanks to union demands.  On the other hand, journalists have been specifically targeted for attacking TSA actions.  Once again, we compliment ourselves on the foresight of using pseudonyms!

Our overgrown, ever-enlarging, ever-more-insatiable government, and the sexual assaults of the TSA, are both markers on the same highway to tyranny: a government which expects people to be subjects and do as they're told rather than one which understands that government must only operate with the consent of the governed.

The TSA has no consent from the governed and its leaders couldn't care less.  Democrats just suffered a decimating election and are screaming in fury that Obama even considered a compromise to not raise taxes, much less that he signed it into law.

The bottom line?  To the statist, everything and everybody, including even even Ms. D'Errico's hot bod, belongs to them; they let you keep whatever they don't take merely out of the goodness of their hearts.  That philosophy is what must be utterly destroyed - starting with the TSA, and moving on to Congress and the IRS.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Economics.
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