by James Bovard, Posted August 27, 2008
The Transportation Security Administration has created more gantlets at American airports than most travelers realize. It has continually changed the rules for flying since it first deployed its 40,000+ army of screeners across the land. Americans are at much greater risk of being arrested or fined in the airport for not kowtowing to federal agents. The rise of the TSA vivifies how low contemporary Americans have fallen. James Madison observed in The Federalist Papers,
It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be ... so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.
Today, “law” and regulations have become tools to force people to behave in ways government officials approve of, rather than a clear line that citizens can respect in order to live their lives in privacy and peace. Government agencies now routinely covertly change their regulations. The rule of law — the classical concept endorsed by the Massachusetts constitution of 1780 as a restraint on government power — has been replaced by the “rule of memo,” whereby federal officials on a whim create new rules to bind private citizens.