Tip of the spear

November 23, 2010
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Military tacticians and historians often make use of the term ‘tip of the spear.’ It refers to a combat force that is used to puncture the enemy’s initial lines of defense, to be quickly followed by concentrated forces which destroy any remaining threat.

Tactically, the tip of the spear is a bit of a blitzkrieg– an unexpected onslaught of firepower and destruction that takes the enemy by surprise, scatters his resources, and fractures his morale.

I’m convinced that what we’re seeing right now from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the tip of the spear in the government’s battle for increased control of the public.

The groundwork has been laid for years– legislation empowering the TSA has gradually eroded civil liberties to the point that airports in the United States have now become ‘no rights’ zones. “Please remove your shoes” has now become “Take out your prosthetic breast so I can check it for explosives.”

Passengers who show up to an airport in the United States are now given two options: (a) go through the radiation bath [don’t worry, the government says it’s safe…] and let the TSA see you naked, or (b) let the TSA thugs grope you and fondle your children’s genitals.

This is not enhanced security protocol, this is a systematic desensitization to government intrusion. The idea is to get people used to new procedures, then continue to add more layers of government control.

Certainly, people will complain. They will be outraged… YouTube videos will abound of TSA agents stroking women’s breasts and disrobing 5-year old boys. The government will hold firm, though, responding that the tactics are necessary and that they will ‘look into’ egregious violations.

To be clear, some of the tactics are designed to be scaled back as concessions. It’s like turning up the volume from 0 to 10… everyone starts screaming that it’s too loud, so the government turns it down to 8. People think, “ah, that’s not as bad…” and eventually become accustomed to the noise.

In time, the government turns it up from 8 to 20. People pour into the streets again, protesting until the government turns it down from 20 to 15. People once again become accustomed to the noise as the new normal. This cycle escalates until no one can remember the sound of silence any longer.

It’s fairly easy to do– there will always be politicians and bureaucrats who can invent stories about innocuous white powders and men in caves that scare the daylights out of people.

Similarly, there will always be long lists of sociopaths, perverts, and pedophiles who are attracted to a job description that authorizes them to grope, fondle, humiliate, and intimidate others.

And of course, there will always be spineless nincompoops who stand by without protest as their wives and children get violated by government agents… and then rationalize their inaction as a necessary sacrifice for safety.

When I was in Bali the other day, I was flipping through channels on the TV and saw Mike Huckabee interviewing Whoopi Goldberg on FoxNews. “Now there’s a couple of intellectual luminaries,” I thought to myself. Whoopi wasted no time in summing up her intellect when she had this to say of the TSA’s tactics:

“… if it’s going to keep me from getting blown out of the sky, you can check anything you want; and if you feel something you like and squeeze it… what am I going to do? [acknowledging laughter from Huckabee]”

The fact is that body scanners are as ineffective at threat detection as metal detectors. Furthermore, the government has ruled out the idea of scanning air or seaborne cargo… because, clearly, cargo would never be a target. The little old lady with the prosthetic hip? Definitely. Cargo? No chance.

These tactics are not about security… they’re about submission, obedience, and cultivating the slave mentality– that people should be afraid of their government and happily yield to authority without question or hesitation.

To be fair, it’s not just in the US; I woke up this morning to a front page photo in the Wall Street Journal of a machine gun toting policeman in Germany cruising a passenger train because of some hackneyed terror threat. Much of the world is living in a similar state.

This is the tip of the spear, and what comes next can only be worse. I don’t say this to stir emotion or create a sense of panic, but rather to appeal to reason:

The threat is very clear– we need not fear men in caves or silly powders, but rather the malignant intentions of our governments and the perverse men who are attracted to its works. If these aren’t the clearest signs of a police state, I don’t know what else could be.

I’m really interested to hear from you about this– what have you experienced during recent travels? Are these offenses -finally- enough to make you consider leaving? If not, where is the limit?