About security theater, a daily demonstration that Americans are sheep
Actually, though, I like Reed’s post on the malign vaudeville that we call ‘security‘, and I see that his conclusions are the exact same ones I have come to. So maybe the guy deserves another look.
Fred Reed’s conclusions about security theater:
The whole business looks remarkably like malign vaudeville, like mummery intended to accomplish two things.
The first is to persuade the foolish that the nation is At War. Actually only the president is at war.
The second, and I would like to be wrong about this, is to train the public to obedience. The formula is simple: Keep’em scared and you can do anything. It works. Americans are rapidly becoming accustomed to Soviet-style surveillance, to the state’s power to search and spy without restraint, to being barked at and ordered about by low-level federal employees. People deserve what they tolerate.
The terrible thing about security theater IMO is that Reed’s second conclusion is almost certainly true. Worse, we know it and do nothing. The American people are being domesticated, like sheep — and we do nothing.
What would the Founders say if they saw what we have become?
What is “security theater”?
Security theater consists of security countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually improve security.
The term was coined by Bruce Schneier for his book Beyond Fear, and has gained currency in security circles, particularly for describing airport security measures. It is also used by some experts such as Edward Felten to describe the security measures imposed after the September 11 attacks. Security theater gains importance both by satisfying and exploiting the gap between perceived risk and actual risk. (from Wikipedia)
Some aricles about security theater
- “Theater of the Absurd at the T.S.A.“, New York Times, 17 December 2006
- “Security Theater“, Zach Phillips, Government Executive, 1 August 2007
- “The Airport Security Follies“, Patrick Smith (commercial airline pilot), op-ed in the New York Times, 28 December 2007
- “The Things He Carried“, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, November 2008
- “TSA Screening Is Security Theater“, 60 Minutes, CBS, 12 December 2008
For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp interest these days:
Posts on the FM site about America:
- Americans, now a subservient people (listen to the Founders sigh in disappointment), 20 July 2008
- de Tocqueville warns us not to become weak and servile, 21 July 2008
- The American spirit speaks: “Baa, Baa, Baa”, 5 August 2008
- We’re Americans, hear us yell: “baa, baa, baa”, 6 August 2008
- This crisis will prove that Americans are not sheep (unless we are), 8 January 2008