Feature

Casting off the shackles of security

Imagine there existed “a major airline that could opt out of all safety regulations” of our increasingly oppressive nanny state, said Jason Richwine in The American.

Jason RichwineThe American

Imagine there existed “a major airline that could opt out of all safety regulations” of our increasingly oppressive nanny state, said Jason Richwine. Let’s call our imaginary carrier Liberty Air. Would you book a seat? If you did, you’d have “a much more pleasant airport experience” than anything currently on offer. No metal detectors, no removing your shoes, and no Transportation Security Administration official prepared to “fondle you in the name of national security.” What’s more, you’d save money, because you’d pay only for the flight, not for maintaining a vast federal security bureaucracy. “Of course, there’s an obvious downside”: the increased risk of a terrorist attack.

But if the past is any guide, the odds of any given flight being a target would remain “exceedingly small.” Several friends and colleagues tell me they’d happily fly Liberty Air, and I suspect many Americans share their desire to break free. Even more would board Liberty Air if it imposed some security measures—screening for guns and explosives, say—without subjecting passengers to the full federal security regime. Any system that allowed some flexibility and choice “would be an improvement over the TSA’s heavy-handedness.” Can’t we find a way to balance freedom and risk?

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