Having travelled over the Christmas season the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is how terrorism seems to be working far more effectively than what people seem to be giving it credit for. The fact that security has been ‘beefed’ up and there are calls from the White House administration into what the failings of the TSA may have been that lead to this incident are all knee jerk reactions that I think completely and totally misses the point. Our freedoms are being taken away from us one cut at a time.
Canada’s reaction is a case in point. In Canada it was announced that we would be introducing 40+ full body scanners that can see through clothing. Of course all the kafuffle is about who gets to see those pictures and what happens to them after the fact. As with any new system however the problem is not the new introduction of a technology but rather the longer term implications of what those technological changes may mean. While there are those that believe in the capability of governments and regulation to put in effective controls to manage the long term implication of these technologies there are two very simple facts that regulators tend to ignore when making these types of knee-jerk judgments.
1) Nothing lasts forever, not even taxes. The fact that these types of machines are being introduced at all opens the door to their use in a myriad of applications – everything from boat cruises to high schools. While boarder security may have a better chance of not having the technology abused, eventually somebody’s body parts are going to end up youTube.
2) Sometimes the slippery slope argument is the correct one. Power corrupts. This is a lesson passed down and reinforced throughout history. What makes slippery slope arguments valid is when the introduction of a particular point of view unfairly unbalances the power relationship between those subject to changes in policy verses those for whom the new policy benefits.
For every extreme measure taken by governments and forced on its citizens, the balance of power is shifted away from society and placed in favour of those whom would use that power against us. This is in part due to the fact that a smaller amount of effort is required for each subsequent act of terrorism in order to gain larger influence and restriction of the populations by which they seek to subjugate.
From that standpoint, it doesn’t matter whether a terrorist group is successful or fails in its attempts. So long as they have control over the manipulation of behaviours of government in responding to these types of incidents then they have achieved their aims while the rest of us have to bear the brunt of the fallout of those actions.
The only way to take power back is to move the problem back onto the shoulders of the people that should be accountable for ensuring these types of things don’t happen in the first place – that being the people themselves. The way you fight terrorism is though culture – not force of arms.
Unfortunately that doesn’t get you re-elected because it is a very hard road to take and requires a very broad reach when dealing with issues on a global scale. It also requires a population that is prepared to stand up and take accountability for the culture in which we live by teaching right from wrong, ethics, morals, and not by constantly trying to abdicate our personal responsibility in this regards to schools and governments.
It is the only way in which to win this battle.