With all the bad press the TSA has received recently, we can't be sure if the acronym stands for Transportation Security Administration, Touches Sensitive Areas or Truly Scandalous Attention. But, for sure, its pat downs and sci-fi radiation screeners give many of us another good reason to avoid the increasingly unfriendly skies. Yet while the TSA right now has supplanted the IRS as the bureaucracy we most love to hate, its policies are merely part of a longstanding cultural trend: The failure to recognize that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.
It's the same reason why certain cities, most notably London, are now surveilling their residents with thousands of video cameras. If you're not willing to administer punishment sufficient to deter all the criminally inclined save a few intractable miscreants, some of whom you can catch, the only other solution is to have an all-seeing Big Brother that can catch all. It's much like treating a cancer: If you cannot target just the affected tissue, the only other solution is to treat the whole body.
Because the former is preferable not just in medicine but also law enforcement, behavioral-sciences specialists long ago developed the method called "profiling." Unfortunately, social-engineering specialists soon after discredited the universal application of profiling with a method called propaganda. Consequently, when we want to administer targeted treatment in the effort to thwart terrorism, we're told that it's "racial profiling" and beyond consideration. This is utter nonsense.