Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Security Theater

Take it away, James Fallows:

You know what I "resent" about our freedoms? I resent the loss of them, through small-minded and smaller-hearted "security state" thinking, and the distortion of what it means to be an American. It should mean someone who takes things in stride, recognizes that life has ups and downs, and follows rules because the rules are reasonable and deserve respect. Thanks largely to security theater, Americans are coming to be people who scurry and worry, and follow rules no matter how obviously inane because they keep us "safe."

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to find fault with Fallows' statement, but at the same time, he's speaking at such a high level of generality that it's useless to apply his observation to actual public policies. One might take his criticism of people who "follow rules no matter how obviously inane because they keep us ['moral'/'ethical'/etc]" and apply it to the FISA Wall that prevented intelligence and criminal investigative agents from sharing information, thus leading in part to the intelligence failures that resulted in 9/11. This isn't to say that the Wall was necessarily a bad idea, or wrong, but there were enough blinking red lights in the summer of 2001 about possible terrorism, yet no one had the big picture. A good description of this can be found in Amy Zegart's "Spying Blind."