Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA Backlash Watch: What About The Other Civil Rights?

I've mostly avoided using the TSA backlash as a cudgel against conservatives because A) they're on the same side of this issue and B) it seems to be a teachable moment about the broader issues of civil liberties versus security. Adam Serwer, though, detects tribal privilege at work in the current controversy: "Of course, if you're Sami el-Hajj, it's perfectly cool for the government to violate your dignity by shoving you into an island prison for seven years without charge.  There's no mystery here. The application of constitutional rights, for some conservatives, is a completely tribal affair. What's really frustrating of course, is the lack of recognition of the connection between justifying the imprisonment el-Hajj faced and the TSA procedures Burlingame finds humiliating. It's a long slippery slope, but for first time people like Burlingame see themselves at the end of it."

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