With all the bad press the TSA has received recently, we can't be sure if the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, Touches Sensitive Areas or Truly Scandalous Attention. But, for sure, its pat downs and sci-fi radiation screeners give many of us another good reason to avoid the increasingly unfriendly skies. Yet while the TSA right now has supplanted the IRS as the bureaucracy we most love to hate, its policies are merely part of a longstanding cultural trend: The failure to recognize that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.
It's the same reason why certain cities, most notably London, are now surveilling their residents with thousands of video cameras. If you're not willing to administer punishment sufficient to deter all the criminally inclined save a few intractable miscreants, some of whom you can catch, the only other solution is to have an all-seeing Big Brother that can catch all. It's much like treating a cancer: If you cannot target just the affected tissue, the only other solution is to treat the whole body.
Because the former is preferable not just in medicine but also law enforcement, behavioral-sciences specialists long ago developed the method called "profiling." Unfortunately, social-engineering specialists soon after discredited the universal application of profiling with a method called propaganda. Consequently, when we want to administer targeted treatment in the effort to thwart terrorism, we're told that it's "racial profiling" and beyond consideration. This is utter nonsense.
As I have said before, "racial profiling" is much like "assault weapon": It's an emotionally charged term designed to manipulate the public. In reality, there are only two types of profiling: good profiling and bad profiling. What's the difference? Good profiling is a method by which law enforcement can accurately determine the probability that an individual has committed a crime or has criminal intent; bad profiling makes that determination less accurate. Good profiling considers all relevant factors -- age, sex, dress, behavior and, yes, race, religion and ethnicity -- without regard for political or social concerns. Bad profiling subordinates common sense, criminological science and security to political correctness.
Good profiling is also fair. That is to say, it discriminates on the correct basis: If a group -- any group -- commits an inordinate amount of a given crime, it receives greater scrutiny. Period. Bad profiling is invidiously discriminatory. It says, "Hey, if you're male, you'll be viewed with a jaundiced eye. If you're young, then you, too, will be viewed more suspiciously. Don't like it? Take it up with those in your group who commit crimes!" There is no talk of stamping out "sex profiling" or "age profiling." But when we propose applying the same criteria to higher-crime-incidence groups sheltered by the thought police's umbrella of protection, we hear shouts of "racial profiling!" There then are news stories, Dept. of Injustice investigations and people lose their jobs.
Good profiling is also nothing unusual; it's just the application of common sense within the sphere of law enforcement and something we all do continually. If you cross the street upon seeing a bunch of rough-hewn young men walking your way, you've just engaged in profiling. You've also done so if you cut a wide swath around a leashed dog; after all, he may be a very nice pooch, but, since canines are known to sometimes bite, your action is prudent. And it doesn't mean you're hateful or bent on discriminating against rough young men and dogs but simply that you're in a situation in which the cost of obtaining more information would be too great. Consequently, as Professor Walter Williams wrote, "We can think of profiling in general as a practice where people use an observable or known physical attribute as a proxy or estimator of some other unobservable or unknown attribute." He then goes on to write:
Let's look at a few profiling examples to see which ones you'd like outlawed. ...Some racial and ethnic groups have higher incidence and mortality from various diseases than the national average. The rates of death from cardiovascular diseases are about 30 percent higher among black adults than among white adults. Cervical cancer rates are five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest known diabetes rates in the world. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men.
Knowing patient race or ethnicity, what might be considered as racial profiling, can assist medical providers in the delivery of more effective medical services.
Now, should doctors be prosecuted for taking these statistics into consideration when delivering medical care? If not, why would we prosecute law enforcement for considering racial and ethnic factors (along with sex, age and other characteristics) when tackling the moral disease known as criminality?
This brings us back to our current security concerns. The profile here is very specific, as it's a rare person who will sacrifice his life to destroy an airplane. Protestants aren't doing that. Catholics aren't doing it. Nor are Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians or Hare Krishna. In our age, this is a method of people who 100 percent of the time are Muslim jihadists and 99 percent of the time are non-white. And only the idiotic -- or the suicidal -- ignores such correlation.
Now, we all know what kind of suicidal idiocy engenders such blindness: a politically correct brand that panders to the sensitivities of vocal, politically favored minority groups such as Muslims. But what about the sensitivities of millions of Americans who have to tolerate intrusive body scanning and pat-downs and watch their children subjected to same? And the kicker is that when Janet Incompetano (as Mark Steyn calls her) was asked if Muslim women sporting hijabs would have to go through the same full-body pat downs, she equivocated and said, "adjustments will be made where they need to be made" and "With respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come." Are you kidding me? Is this Total Recall meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Muslim women are the demographic second-most likely to commit Islamic terrorism. If they aren't subjected to scrutiny, what is the point (besides "security theater")? Moreover, why should Muslim's imperative of modesty be respected but not others people's? Not only do devout Catholics place a premium on the quality as well, but millions of other individuals find it very offensive to be exposed in front of strangers and groped. Yet we're told that the very group criminological science dictates should receive more scrutiny may receive less due to political correctness. And if this actually happens, it will be yet another example of de facto Sharia law in deference to an alien culture and dhimmitude for us infidels. Of course, I realize that Incompetano's equivocation doesn't necessarily mean a Muslim dispensation is in the offing (although I put nothing past leftists), as she might simply have been overcome by the typical liberal reluctance to express unfashionable truths. But is this an excuse? If she expects Americans to tolerate the indignity of intrusive security screening and basically tells them it's tough luck if they don't like it, she has a duty to be just as firm with the over-coddled Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its minions. And to not be so was a slap in the face to you, me and anyone who has ever fought for our freedoms. How dare she.
To cement this point, I'll say that this is not first and foremost about whether a given security measure is or isn't prudent. It's also unrealistic to think that we can have satisfactory security without some inconvenience. The point is that whatever methods are settled upon -- screening devices, bomb-sniffing dogs, pat downs, etc. -- political correctness must not factor into the decision. But it does, and this robs the government of all credibility. And I, for one, do not take its efforts seriously.
The truth is that we don't just have security theater but, sadly, war-on-terrorism theater. We launch foreign military campaigns while leaving our back door to Mexico -- through which terrorists and WMDs can pass -- unsecured. We even announce the charade, by calling the conflict "the war on terror." As Ann Coulter once pointed out, using this euphemism is much like having called the WWII conflict with Imperial Japan "the war on sneak attacks." Terrorism is a method, not an enemy -- Islamists are the enemy. And if we're too effete to even name names, it's no surprise that we won't identify groups.
What I've expressed here is just common sense, but it will remain uncommon unless we experience a cultural transformation. Until the politically correct must keep their death-cult ideology to themselves for fear of scorn, social ostracism and career destruction - the very tactics they've used to silence others - nothing will change. We will continue to exhibit a lack of seriousness about what is a life-or-death issue, a failing that will lead to an inevitable outcome: a mushroom cloud over an American city. When that happens, it will have been enabled by those who gave us our cultural mushroom cloud, ushering in a cold winter of lies and preventing people from seeing the light. And come that time, I hope we remember to thank them appropriately.