Monday, October 4, 2010

Security Theater (II)

Yglesias is pretty fed up with Terror Alerts:

The point is that policy and discourse around terrorism are dangerously lacking in perspective or any kind of reasonable cost-benefit analysis. People die of nut allergies every year, but we don’t enact a nationwide ban on nuts; it would be insane and incredibly annoying. But nobody in office seems interested in running the math on what kind of safety modern-day airport liquid bans and shoe-removal procedures are buying us or at what cost. No tradeoffs are discussed between fighting terrorism and fighting ordinary crime, or trying to reduce motorcycle accidents (which kill many more people than 9/11 each and every year), or simply the wealth and convenience gained by hassle-free air travel. But terrorism hurts us most not when it kills people, but when it uses our own clouded judgment as a force multiplier that inspires us to weaken ourselves in a thousand ways big and small.

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