I disagree, however, with the neocon creeps who think that racial profiling is a better idea.
And I also disagree with advocates of phony "free markets," who are being paid off by industrial interests to make the implausible argument that "privatizing" airport security is somehow going to solve the problem. It's awfully difficult to see how. That's because it's opportunistic gibberish.
I oppose these intrusive pat-downs and radiation-emitting scanners for one reason: they—like the majority of "security measures" that have been put into practice in airports—are little more than a decoy, Orwellian in character, whose audience are not "the terrorists" to whom their purportedly "sending a signal," but, rather: the American "middle class."
The functions of these "security measures" with respect to middle-class travelers are twofold:
1) To provide people with the illusion that their safety is being guaranteed. In reality, the "safety" that these devices and "procedures" are said to provide exceeds could never honestly be guaranteed. It's impossible. Don't believe me? Read this detailed piece of reporting that exposes the "Security Theater" in our airports, published in the Atlantic Monthly back in 2008.
2) To remind people, as frequently and as concretely as possible, that they should be scared, that they should not think for themselves, and that they require the guiding hand of a benevolent, external authority.
Now, if my second point sounds like the classic right-wing/libertarian argument that "government intervention in our lives is paternalistic," that's because it's pretty much the same claim. With a couple of important differences:
First, I submit that it is obvious that it makes little difference whether the paternalistic authority is embodied in a government agency or a privately administered company, which will have inevitably owed its monopoly in a given market(s) to the congressmen to whom they have donated their millions of dollars.
The second element differentiating my argument from that of the phony free-market types is that, if anything, private industry stands to gain as much, if not more from disingenuous and arrogant administration of "security" policy than does a government agency. This is because the sole motive of private industry is to gain profits. How, then, can it be argued that they would somehow be more likely to refrain from molesting old grannies, or demanding that a cancer survivor remove her prosthetic breast?
The whole thing stinks. I think progressives should be speaking up in opposition to the intrusive and unhealthy "security procedures." Speak up, and don't let the privateering/profiteering brigade change the subject! Speak up in defense of our Constitutionally protected civil liberties.