Thursday, January 19, 2012

The game of Commerce


DALLAS (Reuters) - A 65-year-old woman made it past a checkpoint and onto a flight at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday with a revolver tucked away in her handbag, and was only stopped after the plane was called back to the gate, the airport said.
This post is probably going to be controversial.

Contrary to what news article commenters say ("Oh, if it makes us safe, it's okay!"), all of this TSA nonsense has nothing at all to do with real safety and everything to do with taxing citizens via fines and charges for accidentally breaking the law. It's the same as with New York City's gun laws; these laws are designed to generate revenue in the courts, not to stop badguys, and are only changed when enough of the non-criminal element get caught as to draw attention to the scheme. And despite what angry Americans may say about all of this and how evil it is, it was done with the consent of the populace.

There is no conspiracy, nor is there evil, when the very citizens who bitch about it let it come about in the first place. Just like in the game of Monopoly, if you want to sit at the table and play, you have to obey the rules; and that means that if your thimble lands on an arbitrary square that says "Go to Jail," than you send your piece to jail. It may be nonsensical, and no true crime was committed, but it's the rules. You land on the block, you have to pay a fare.

Back to the article, notice that the 65 year old woman was not only allowed through the checkpoint, but had already boarded the plane which was on its way to the runway. The planes were only turned around when somebody realized that a mistake was made. This very well could have added up to a Jack Bauer moment in the mind of some "security officer," but in the end it was a simple accounting error: the fare for carrying a handgun on a plane was not rendered. Disagree with me if you want, but the takeaway from this is that the goons in the blue shirts are not enforcing anti-constitutional gun laws as much as they are merely facilitating the collection of a tax -- the re-venuing of currency -- on compliant, consenting persons who asked for this very thing in the name of feeling secure.

"Did you see all the knives they caught that guy with? I'm glad they got him! I'll sleep soundly on my flight to El Paso knowing that that dangerous dude is behind bars!" Feeling safe is important to many people, and I don't blame them one bit. Feeling secure is a natural human desire, and getting it at someone else's expense can make it feel even more sweet. That's not the way I live by, but I've come to accept that that's the way it is, that the vast majority of the country feel that way, and the rules are made to suit them. When somebody's thimble ends up in the fictitious slammer, the other players say "HA!" and they play right past them, because that's how the game is played. Arguing against it is like trying to stop the sun.

Now, change the rules if it bothers you, sure. Good. Great. I'm all about it. But know that when you deny one funding stream, the government with find another, and will construct an organization tasked with taking up the collection. You say that marijuana should be legal? Cool beans, but there will need to be something given in kind because there are no free lunches. I'm on a hunch that pot will be legal in the next 5 or 10 years just as citizens want, and in return for this there will be an ever larger network of sex offender laws with an agency created to enforce it. Either that or, considering the sharply divided mindset of Americans, there will be crimes against the homeland used for government commerce. If you haven't noticed yet, the struggling economy is effecting the government as well, and the predictable reaction from it is to draw funds from areas both large and small, like SOPA for a large scale revenue generating function, and nitpicking citizens for random stuff like lightbulb disposal as an example of the small stuff.

Again, there are no free lunches, and there's nothing new under the sun. If you get what you want, you have to give something in kind. Choose wisely.
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