Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When Logic is Abandoned

I remember clearly when I realized my government was going to abandon logic.  Not long after the passage of some anti-discrimination laws, the insurance industry lost an important trial.  An insurer was charged with discrimination on the basis of sex, because life annuities paid less per month or year for women than men.  Court ruling: clearly discriminatory.  But the data on life span is abundant, robust, and unchallenged.  In the U.S., women, measured by average length of life, by the median, or any distribution measure one can use, live longer than men.  Over their life then, they would receive just as much.  Logic and math didn't matter however.
That was clearly a portent.  The lemming -like behavior of TSA is Exhibit #1.  First, a whack job gets some explosive Nikes made up, and now, we must all go barefoot through security.  Now, because some nut case wrapped his penis with C4 and tried to use his underwear as a fuse, we all can get our crotches felt up.  Well, if it keeps me from getting on an airplane and getting blown up, it is worth it some may say.  Logic failure I retort: that assumes no other alternatives.
But we know, don't we, that there are alternatives. The terrorists aren't grandmas from West Virginia, or surfer girls from LA, or truck drivers from Texas, or car-builders from Detroit.  They are Muslim extremists.  Logic would dictate concentration of effort on a small group with known characteristics.  Not only would it be far less costly, it would be more effective.
Yesterday I listened to a radio interview with a soldier, who, while in uniform, had been subjected to a full pat-down, complete with what would otherwise be considered inappropriate touching.  Let me reiterate that.  A member of the U.S. Army, on his way to Iraq, in uniform, had been TSA groped, because his uniform didn't play well with the scanning machine.  If someone tried that in a bar, the soldier would have likely administered a major ass-kicking to the perp.
The abandonment of logic results in the conclusion that it is preferable to feel up our military men and women than to apply the scientific method to identify the statistically most likely mass murderers.
I despair for our country when reason is tossed overboard for some weak hypothesis that no group may be offended.  And that all cultures are equally valuable.  No, they aren't.  Western civilization advanced farther than most. 
The Aztecs ripped the beating hearts out of the sacrificed. Our civilzation is better than theirs. Iran still practices stoning.  A ccouple of thousand years ago, the Jews practiced stoning too, but they advanced with western Civilization and stopped.
And I despair for myself.  If the next would-be murderer stuffs dynamite in his anus, what will I be subject to then courtesy of the TSA?  A colonoscopy with every flight?

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