Airport security prevented Kentucky Senator Rand Paul from boarding his flight to Washington after he refused to receive a patdown from TSA officers. Paul, who we are all looking forward to seeing every 4 years when he takes over the family business of making a Quixotic campaign for the GOP nomination based upon an antiquated and flawed understanding of monetary policy, decided to make this a much bigger deal than it needed to be by releasing a statement about it and booking interviews.
Look, airport security is a pain, and it’s true that TSA is not perfect in catching every potential threat (perfect security is unattainable, but whatever), but Paul is not arguing to improve the TSA. He is arguing that it should be abolished as a governmental affront to our liberty. The idea that there is some fundamental liberty concern implicated by airport security highlights my fundamental problem with libertarianism — “liberty” is defined by the whims of the self-absorbed and entitled. When someone argues that national health care is necessary to provide Americans the freedom to pursue their happiness without fear, libertarians explain that we have no right to health care and that we should have the “choice” to not provide for our own care, even when that “choice” is forced as the result of economic necessity. But when the junior Senator from Kentucky decides that he wants to board an airline after setting off alarms, there is an inalienable federal right to being able to catch the commercial airline flight you want on the schedule you want. When you decide to buy an airline ticket, you are agreeing to subject yourself to security. If you don’t want to get a patdown, then drive or use the horse and buggy that the framers of the Constitution expected you to use when they wrote the document that you chose to read literally in all other aspects.
Moreover, what’s the libertarian exit strategy here? If the TSA were to disappear, the commercial airlines and airports would band together to create their own security policies because they have a private interest in conveying that their flights are eminently safe and it’s hard for libertarians to argue that private industry cannot make its own entry barriers to its customers. This is such a faux outrage on the part of the entitled (and a willing sensationalist media) who want to pretend airport security is a bigger issue than poverty in this country.