Wednesday, September 10, 2003

As Kevin Drum notes, the new CAPPS II screening system is intended to ban something like one percent of current passengers from flying commercially -- effectively barring them from a lot of high-paying jobs which require frequent travel. Something of a concern considering how many people who appear to be on the existing "watch list" seem to have nothing to point them out as threats other than peaceful opposition to the current party in power.

Of course, this doesn't apply to trains and buses, or toll highways. Yet. Nevertheless, the overall effect is that people who want to travel much, or quickly, will have to fit some vague criteria, unknown to them, of being in the good graces of the government. (And if people get a little overcautious about pushing the limit because they have no idea where it is, well that's just fine with the powers that be).

In any case, this system of travel bans starts to create at least the same type of social control that the old Soviet Union got with its system of internal passports. Which brings up this little flashback from a post some time ago, about the confinement of protestors in Pennsylvania to "free speech zones" where no one would see them (wasn't the whole country a "free speech zone" once upon a time?):

When I was learning about the evils of communism in school, I didn't hear so much about the massacres, or even the gulag. It was instead the conditions of daily life that got to you --- people subject to search and arrest without any review, the informants, the restrictions on mass media, the inefficient, government-connected industries despoiling the environment (with a few apparatchiks at the top skimming off cash for a sumptuous lifestyle), the government agencies stocked only by the politically reliable, and the goons in the politburo able to impose whatever half-baked policy they liked, justify it with whatever lies they liked, enforced by a government apparatus stocked high with only those chosen to be politically reliable, and never be subject to any meaningful review. I'm starting to get the feeling that someone got the same lessons I did --- and thought to themselves, "Wow, what a neat idea!"

Ooops: Corrected Kevin's name.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home