The American Prospect’sAdam Serwer has a good piece on the recent anti-TSA backlash, noting that the American public’s ire has only been aroused at government infringements on personal liberty now that it seems to be affecting solid middle-class (read: economically privileged, white, non-Muslim) citizens.
The amount of freedom Americans have handed over to their government in the years since the 9/11 attacks is difficult to convey. We’ve simply accepted the idea of the government secretly listening in on our phone calls and demanding private records from companies without warrants. Many shiver at the notion of trying suspected terrorists in civilian courts, and even at the idea of granting the accused legal representation. The last president of the United States brags openly about ordering people to be tortured, and the current one asserts the authority to kill American citizens he believes to be terrorists overseas.
But most of these measures are either invisible enough to put out of mind or occur outside of what most Americans can imagine happening to them. As long as it’s just Muslims being tortured and foreigners being detained indefinitely, the price we pay to feel secure seems all too abstract. The TSA’s new passenger-screening measures just happen to fall on the political and economic elites who can make their complaints heard. It’s not happening to those scary Arabs anymore. It’s happening to “us.”
I’ll add one other data point that goes un-mentioned in Serwer’s article: our comfort with (or indifference to) the fact that we’ve been killing thousands of foreigners abroad in two wars for nearly a decade, all for the promise of “greater security.” This despite the fact that our leaders rarely bother to make the case that those wars have actually made us safer, or that they were worth it in terms of their costs and benefits. (To say nothing of their morality.)
2 thoughts on “Revolt of the elites”
From the day after 9/11, liberals have very nearly ignored the international cancer of Jihad and consistently denied the distinctive domestic threat of Muslim terror, maintaining that terrorism anywhere of any sort requires no more than attentive and on-the-ball law enforcement.
Despite the declarations of Al-Qaeda as well as congressional action, liberals have denied (a) that we are in a state of war against Al-Qaeda and its global allies and supporters as well as (b) that these enemies are contemporary carriers of a historically typical, violent Muslim totalitarianism, both motivated by and capitalizing on anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, and Islamic supremacist sentiment rife as well among Muslims, however moderate or secular, everywhere.
From the first day, the battle between the professionals and the liberals was won by the liberals and the full brunt of airline security has been imposed equally and randomly on all, no-fly and terrorist suspect lists apart.
From the first day, the public has been with the professionals who wanted to focus on likely Muslim threats.
From the first day, had terrorist profiling based on religion, nationality, and point of origin been in place the focus of attention would have been primarily on a subset of white people since Saudis, Yemenis, Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, etc. are white and since nearly all Muslim terrorists to strike at America have been white.
The whole liberal line rejecting the focus of airport security on likely Muslim terrorists as motivated by white racism aimed at harassment, persecution, and abuse of non-whites has been a lie from the start.
The very name of the global war on terror, so often mocked and derided by liberals, was a liberal victory, the real enemy from the first day being nobody but Al-Qaeda and its friends and allies all over the world, and hence only and exclusively, but also universally, Jihader Islam.
The entire mythology of Islam as a religion of peace and the absurd denial that we and most of the Muslim world are at war with violent Muslims motivated by their Jihader Islam and nobody else has been a liberal victory.
As for the present flap about scans and frisks, the upsurge in public resentment at the this increase in airport insanity imposed on everybody who isn’t a Muslim by liberals is being spun as founded in white racism, as always, by liberals whose willingness to lie shockingly and shape not just propaganda but policy for partisan advantage is exceeded not in the least by that of conservatives.
I’m not sure what you want “liberals” to endorse that they already haven’t–most liberals (or at least most Democrats) supported military action against Al-Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan specifically (which seems to be working out great, by the way) along with most of the government’s other anti-terrorism efforts. How would “being at war with global jihad” look meaningfully different?
As for the profiling issue–we already have “no-fly” lists for actual individuals suspected of being linked to terrorism. Apart from that, is there actual evidence that profiling (what are we supposed to do, search every guy who “looks Muslim”?) works more effectively than random searches?