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Privatize it: TSA

Here is a Republican congressman calling for the TSA to be “privatized.”

We should privatize the TSA, but what he is talking about is not privatization.  He’s basically saying we should create an oppressive and invasive (and by the way, unconstitutional) set of restrictions, impose them on the entire market, and then hire a “private” firm to do the imposing.  It’s possible that doing this might be slightly more efficient but in this case even that is pretty questionable since it’s hard to see how you would make the revenue of such a firm dependent on their performance which is what leads to these increases in efficiency. 

So what would privatization really mean?  It would mean the government does nothing regarding airline security.  “Privatizing the TSA” means eliminating the TSA.  That’s it.  We don’t need a nationwide security apparatus.  “So you think we should just do nothing and let terrorists blow up planes at will!?” I can hear the left (and let’s face it, the right too) gasping.  First of all I sort of do think that.  If somebody wants to blow people up there is no shortage of ways to do it, it seems ridiculous to me to be so paranoid about airplanes.  But that being said, this would not be the case.

The premise behind that statement is that if government doesn’t do something it won’t get done.  But does the government produce milk and ship it to your local supermarket?  No.  And yet there is milk there.  Go ahead take a look.  I have no idea where you live or at what time you are reading this and I can guarantee you that if you go to the nearest supermarket there will be milk there even though there is no law saying there must be or government agency in charge of providing milk.  Probably there will in fact be a wide variety of milk to choose from: whole milk, fat-free, 1%, 2%, soy milk, vanilla soy, etc. and several brands of each.  How does this happen?

Obviously, there is milk there because people are willing to pay for it.  And things that people are willing to pay for get provided.  So what would a world with “privatized” airport security look like?  Well, if people want to get groped in exchange for a slightly smaller chance of being blown up by a terrorist, then some airline would no doubt offer them that service.  If someone else, like me, preferred not to get groped, then another airline would most likely give them that option.  If you think profiling (or any other technique) is more effective, you could choose the airline that does that.  We could all get what we want. 

Personally, I would start an airline called “Bring it on Airlines.”  I would have no security, you could just show up a few minutes before takeoff and get on.  I would paint a big target on the sides of the planes.  Also I would charge for bags.  In order to get on all you would have to do is sign the following statement.

The goal of terrorists is to cause terror.  I refuse to live in terror.  If anyone tries to hijack this flight, I will fight them to the death.  If they kill me, I will die free.

It would be a real tough-guy airline.  And all of you people who are concerned about terrorists would be even more safe since the occasional terrorist that did come along wanting to blow up a plane would certainly go after mine instead of  the ones with all the drastic security measures and the passengers–you know, the ones who are willing to sacrifice their privacy and dignity and live in fear of the miniscule chance of being blown up by a terrorist.  Yeah, I’m sure they will leave those people alone and go after my airline.  So what’s the problem people?  Privatize it!

Update: After I wrote this today, I went to the supermarket to get milk and they didn’t have it!  I broke down laughing right there in the isle.  People probably thought I was crazy.  But actually they still had like 20 varieties of milk they were just out of the one I wanted.  And they actually had exactly what I wanted but in a different (more expensive) brand.  And then someone came by and asked if I was finding everything and I told her what I wanted and she went in the back and got me one.  So the free market works after all!

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