Saturday, December 4, 2010

Political Correctness Is Immoral; Profiling Based On Facts Is Just

Great essay by Craig Carter from the The Politics of the Cross Resurrected blog:
Last week I traveled to Atlanta for the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society. A friend and I drove to Buffalo and flew from there to Atlanta. At the border, we were asked where we were going, for how long etc. and then waved through. A couple of white, middle-aged, Canadian passport-holding guys were not perceived as much of a threat to national security.
But when we got to the airport, we were forced to endure an electronic strip search after having removed our shoes, belts, watches etc.. We were treated exactly the same way as a middle eastern man between 18 and 35 would be treated. Nuns, grandmothers, children - all are treated as being just as likely to be terrorists as young Muslim men. As Peggy Noonan rightly says in her Washington Post column today, this is not an inconvenience but a humiliation. It also means that we are letting the terrorists win because they sin and our people pay the price.
The problem with political correctness is that it requires us to pretend; it requires that we deny reality. Angela Merkel made this point a few days ago when she said that multiculturalism isn't working in Germany. Of course it isn't; the Muslim populations is never going home and it is not being assimilated. Everyone knows that but no one is allowed to say it. We must pretend. At airports, everyone knows that no elderly nun or white, eight year old boy traveling with his Southern Baptist mother has yet brought down an airliner or even tried. But we must pretend that they are just as much a threat as the people who have done so.
The single most shocking thing I read about this whole airport security issue does not relate to the humiliation and ineffectiveness of the "pat downs for all" approach. It was this paragraph from Deroy Murdock:
At a Monday night Intelligence Squared debate on this topic at New York University, one of my interlocutors was Debra Burlingame, sister of Charles Burlingame, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which al-Qaeda smashed into the Pentagon. She cited her conversation with an American Airlines customer-service agent who worked on September 11. He checked in Nawaf and Salem al-Hazmi, two of those who hijacked that Boeing 757. While American's seasoned employee found these two suspicious, Burlingame says he told her he did not flag them for further scrutiny "because I didn't want my colleague to think that I was a racist and a bigot."
He didn't want his colleague to think he was a racist and bigot - and the result was that innocent people died. It is not just that political correctness might result in the inadvertent deaths of innocent people: it already has.
That pretty much says it all. Our opponents claim that profiling doesn't work because not every terrorist is a Muslim / middle eastern man between 18 and 35. Yet we all know where most of the violence comes from.

Currently, in order to check one suspicious person, the airport security workers have to subject at least a dozen of innocent people to a humiliating pat-down or electronic strip-search, just so that one suspicious person doesn't feel singled out because of his origin. If security workers are allowed to do their job and screen the relatively small group of passengers which is responsible for nearly all the violence without fear of being accused of racism, that will free up more than enough manpower to intercept those remaining few that may still pose a threat to airline security.

And, when it comes to hurt feelings - whose feelings matter most? Feelings of a small minority that self-identifies with those who put us in a situation when we have to check every baby bottle to ensure there are no explosives in it or the feelings of millions of innocent law-abiding airline passengers, who merely want to go from one city to another?

No comments: