Libertarians and Airport Body-Scans
I’ve been thinking about the libertarian position on airport full-body scans.
It might be a little tricky at first to decide what that position would be. After all, libertarians are known, above all, for their stance on personal freedom. So it would seem that libertarians would be against this invasion of personal privacy.
However, libertarians also support the freedom of organizations and institutions to determine their own rules, to decide who they will refuse service to, and to specify the appropriate ways to act when you are in their territory. So it would seem that libertarians would be in favor of the airport’s right to require body scans.
The truth is, the decision for or against body scans is a decision about safety versus privacy. The airports have a right to determine how safe they want to be. More significantly, the passengers have a right to determine how safe they want to be, AND how much they value their privacy.
That is a delicate balancing act. How do we know the right balance between safety and privacy?
The truth is, we don’t.
And this leads us to the real question: “who gets to choose?” And the heart of the real issue: the government is choosing for us.
It’s not the airlines, the airports, or the passengers choosing a position in this delicate balancing act. It’s an outside force. And no external force can understand as much about the values and needs of the passengers as the people directly involved.
Government, as long as it comes in as an outside force making decisions for us, removes our freedom, and will always lead to human suffering.
In contrast, in an organic society, the passengers and the airlines would come to a position delicately, they would be quick to adjust to changing needs and realizations, and they would do so honoring the desires of every individual…
…rather than exercising an edict passed down from on high.