Police State/Civil Liberties

Airport Security Measures Are Popular, But Pointless

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The bumbling TSA and performative mask requirements are ineffective air-travel hassles.

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard,” H.L. Mencken once wrote. It’s a wonderfully cynical sentiment that rings true when you realize that many people currently trudging through air-travel misery think that ritualistically lining up to be prodded and groped by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a worthwhile part of the ordeal. That would be fine if they reserved the experience for themselves, but they drag the rest of us through what evidence says is a pointless gauntlet. It’s a reminder that popular policy isn’t the same thing as wise and sensible policy.

Even as many would-be travelers remain stranded in airport purgatory, “79% of Americans say that airports should prioritize screening for security threats over saving travelers time and money,” according to recent polling by YouGov America. Can it be that these people actually relish taking off their shoes, surrendering water bottles and Play-Doh containers, and posing spread-eagled for electronic scanners?

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