Libertarian John Jay Myers: ‘The Forest, the Trees, and the TSA’

Originally posted on, by John Jay Myers:

With all the naked viewing and groping going on, I wonder if this is the United States of America or the back room of an adult video store. We have two major problems here, the TSA and their intrusive unconstitutional invasions of our rights, and the bigger question of why are we turning into a police state.

Let’s start with the TSA. How many passengers have I seen interviewed on TV who all share the notion that “If it makes us safer then I think it is a good idea. I just want to get to my destination in one piece.” Not only does this presume that the government is more capable at assuring safety than private citizens, but it also illustrates an alarming trend in this country where we have become willing to so easily trade freedom for the illusion of safety (or prosperity, or charity).

Let me ask you this – who has the greatest interest in safe and secure airplanes? The government? On the contrary, the people themselves have the greatest self interest in safety. The airlines would not want to jeopardize their reputation, their financial security, nor the lives of the passengers. Then there would be the insurance companies who insure those planes who would insist on the airlines taking proper steps for safe travel. And finally there are the passengers, who are so interested in safety that they willingly bend over and accept the government’s intrusion. So we now have three key private players with major interest in the safety of planes.

The TSA only had a 2-year contract before the airlines could opt out. I believe it is time for America’s airlines to opt out, or for the people to opt out of America’s airlines. Let airlines decide what security policies they employ, and then let the free people of America choose which airlines they feel safest flying. This simply means if you don’t want to blow up prematurely (if blowing up was already on your agenda), ride on a plane with tight professional security, and if you don’t want to pay more for a ticket (or be probed) ride on the plane without it. Freedom and security is not a trade off. Freedom IS security.

If you believe that the Federal Government has the greatest interest in a secure plane, or that we should employ a more intrusive “papers please” approach or the Israeli model of rapid fire interrogations, let me ask you a few questions. If we could make airlines 100% safe, so safe that we know that a terrorist will never board a plane and take it over, would that be the end of terrorism as we know it? Do secure airlines mean a secure America? Hardly, considering that in America we have thousands of events held daily where greater numbers of people gather.

Which brings us to the title of this article The Forest, The Trees, and the TSA. The TSA is actually only a symptom, while the real problem is our foreign policy. Our history in the Middle East did not start on September 11, 2001. Understanding our involvement around the world and how it has a habit of coming to roost is key before we end up with check points outside our children’s soccer games.

Though any step towards privatization in the airline industry is an improvement, the ultimate solution to our problems is bringing our troops home and minding our own business. Foreign beligerence is immoral, incredibly costly, and it threatens our security by inspiring people to hate us.

This is not a “blame America first” mentality. This is blame bad policy first. The fact is that our foreign policy of a trillion dollars a year is bankrupting this country. The fact is that our involvement in these countries is the main reason some want to attack us. The fact is that the TSA represents a victory for the terrorists and a loss for freedom, and facts are never unpatriotic. We are accepting a Federal government to protect our freedom when the Federal Government Military/Security State is openly hostile to freedom.

We have sent the government scrambling to find new ways to intrude on our rights, without realizing that our current foreign policy of entangling alliances and questionable corporate intent are the opposite of what our founders envisioned. We need to think about this the next time we see a Fox News report about the impending threat of Iran, followed by an advertisement sponsored by Lockheed Martin. America can can continue down a road of war, terror, insecurity and an ever increasing police state or we can choose a new direction of peace, commerce, security and a foreign policy of freedom.

To me the choice is clear.

John Jay Myers [send him mail] a small businessman from Dallas, Texas and is a member of the Texas Libertarian Executive Committee and the Vice Chair of the Dallas County Libertarian Party. John recently ran for congress against Pete Sessions in Texas 32nd district. Visit his website.

17 thoughts on “Libertarian John Jay Myers: ‘The Forest, the Trees, and the TSA’

  1. wolfefan

    I agree with a lot of this, but have some questions about the short-term, absent the kind of foreign policy changes you discuss.

    As I understand it, you’re essentially suggesting that we return to the pre-9/11 policies. Am I right? Should there be any minimum standards, or is it okay to bill yourself as the airline that does no security checks? Yes, passengers may choose such an airline – quicker boarding, cheaper prices since no security provided – but what about the affects to 3,000 or so innocent people in the case of another 9/11 – or just 20 or so innocent people in case of a smaller event?

    Airplane flight is certainly in most cases interstate commerce, and thus clearly subject to federal regulation. While individual policies such as the recent more intrusive ones may be unconstitutional, surely the regime of federal oversight of air travel is (in most cases) not.

    What in your view is appropriate regulation (if any) of the airline industry?

    Thanks in advance for your consideration. I always find your posts well-reasoned and thought-provoking.

  2. Robert Capozzi

    jjm: Let airlines decide what security policies they employ, and then let the free people of America choose which airlines they feel safest flying.

    me: Nice sentiment, but many trips involve multiple carriers. A reasonable level of security would be a function of the weakest link…a major factor that should not be minimized.

  3. John Jay Myers

    Thanks Wolfefan, I would argue that we are never going to see a plane taken over the same way we saw it taken over on 9/11.

    People on the plane wouldn’t let it happen.

    Personally I wouldn’t ride on a plane that doesn’t have some sort of security. But that is my choice.

    I would imagine that the airline industry would set some minimum standards, and if you meet those standards you can say our planes are “M.S.S.” approved.

    Then airline hubs DFW etc could decide whether they wanted to allow non “M.S.S” airplanes to fly from their airport.

    Also, you are forgetting the insurance agencies that have to pay for these planes exploding are not going to do so without them having some sort of security.

    So I would say it is not the Federal Governments business to probe and prod us before we get on these planes. It simply is not.

    But that all misses the point, if we are so quick to allow the government to probe are naked parts at this juncture, can we not argue for safety at any and all public places?

    Surely the 3000 people in a building need to know who has just walked into the building… their lives could be at risk. We must frisk them all, we must see their papers, we must chip them and categorize them. Who knows what they may try to do.

    Same with people at a little league game, or at an arcade, or at any other social event. We should have check points everywhere! (okay I hope everyone knows this was sarcasm)

    It is a slippery slope.

    This is a symptom of the big problem as I explained.

    Like, there are people who argue that we need higher taxes, where as I wouldn’t want to see one person mention a tax until we stop spending money.
    The same holds true that I don’t want to see people argueing for more and more security until we stop pissing off the rest of the world.

  4. wolfefan

    Thanks, John, for your thoughtful response. I think I see what you are saying, and will reflect a bit.

  5. Weigel weighs in...

    From Weigel:

    “The facts they (Ames and Levine) do have:

    – John Tyner, the “don’t touch my junk” guy, calls himself a libertarian.”

    So do millions of other people, the vast majority of whom do not receive Koch money and a fairly significant portion of whom derive their libertarianism from sources that have had and continue to have contentious splits with the Kochs for decades now (Mises Institute/Lew Rockwell circle, particularly through its influence on Ron Paul; Libertarian Party; etc).

    Among other Ames and Levine “evidence”: Tyner lives fairly close to a Marine Corps base and attended a Christian school. The rest of their article is equally bad.

    “- Meg McLain, who made up a salacious TSA “molestation” story, is a libertarian activist who met with members of “Liberty On Tour, funded at least partly by Koch-backed organizations like Students for Liberty” before her stunt.”

    See articles from McLain and Eyre above. There is no evidence that McLain made anything up, only a soundless video which she says intentionally skipped over key events she discussed in her radio interview.

    According to her posting, she went to Florida to meet a man she had a crush on. Possibly he was one of the Liberty on Tour guys, she does not name him, and apparently it did not work out.

    As Eyre explains, an organization that gets part of its funding from the Kochs was among dozens that contributed small amounts to Liberty on Tour.

    Yep, sounds like a conspiracy orchestrated by billionaires to me…

    “- George Donnelly knows McLain and set up a TSA protest site before her bungled stunt. This is actually a great discovery by Ames.”

    According to either McLain or Donnelly, they have not met in person and only met online after the airport incident. He lent her $200 to get home after he heard her radio interview and she paid him back quickly.

    Neither Donnelly nor McLain, or Free Keene/FSP for that matter, get Koch money. McLain says she never even heard of the Kochs before this, while Donnelly is not a fan. The “connection” is that the guy who came up with the FSP idea (and later handed it over) went on to later on work at a Koch-funded think tank. Any Koch connection here, even a remote one, would involve time travel.

    “- Brian Sodergren, who launched the Opt Out Day website, is a lobbyist for the dental industry.”

    Quite possibly true, although I wouldn’t automatically assume it is based on the rest of the “facts” in the source article.

    Assuming it’s true, what exactly does it prove or even point to being likely?


  6. End the TSA

    Via California Libertarian Alliance:

    Why do we have a TSA?
    November 30th, 2010

    “No matter how many times I go through an airport, which is almost daily, I am outraged each and every time. Whether it is the disgusting thought of a “full-body scan,” being touched in ways nobody should be touched, or having a guy in a uniform confiscate my one ounce of toothpaste because it’s in a six-ounce tube, I ask myself what has brought us to the point where we let the government do the kind of stuff to us that we wouldn’t let anyone else do?”

    “My friend Congressman Ron Paul has introduced legislation to make it clear that TSA officers are not immune from basic laws regarding unwanted physical contact. I commend him for doing so, but cannot help but point out how unbelievable it is that such a law might even be necessary. How is it that we line up like sheep at the airport and let the government grope us in ways that would get anybody else in the country fired or arrested? I say enough is enough. Let’s stop being sheep.”

    “Instead of trying to fix or adjust or moderate TSA airport screening procedures to make them less abusive or slightly more tolerable, I say it is time to turn airport screening and security over to those who should be doing it in the first place: the airlines.”

    Full column by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson @

  7. Pingback: John Jay Myers: Some Thoughts About Unions | Independent Political Report

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