Sunday, January 10, 2010

Find the Cost of Freedom

In this age of punditry, you can watch TV all day long while people on both sides of the political spectrum make endless arguments, going around in circles of illogic, solving nothing.

There is no moral center to these spinnings, no true conviction, only political positioning and expediency. Pols will sell out their own mothers in order to score points.

Such is the case with AANR and its endorsement of airport scanners.
A number of naked-friendly phenomena –, low-rise jeans, nude beaches, micro-bikinis – have arguably worked to demolish old angst about private parts. At the very least, the angst has shifted from the question, "Does this show too much?" to, "Will I look hot?"

The American Association For Nude Recreation has already endorsed the body scans with great enthusiasm. A press release they sent this week declared that security is "more important than parochial concerns over a scanned image of a clothed body."

"We here think that it's a great idea, and not because we're nudists," elaborates Carolyn Hawkins (AANR spokesperson).
I'm still really stunned at this shortsightedness. For one thing, all of the "naked-friendly phenomena" mentioned in the article is subject to government censorship. There is currently a massive movement taking place to block "undesirable" web sites in the UK, Australia, and yes, in the United States.
In 2009 the Cybersecurity Act was introduced, proposing to allow the federal government to tap into any digital aspect of every citizen’s information without a warrant. Banking, business and medical records would be wide open to inspection, as well as personal instant message and e mail communications.

The legislation, introduced by Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in April, gives the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any “critical” information network “in the interest of national security.” The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president, according to a Mother Jones report.
And how about those low-rise jeans? You think you are really free to show your ass-crack in public? Have you heard about the "bikini barista law" in Washington state?
As of Thursday, baristas at least four stands were wearing bikinis, which are allowed under the new law. The ordinance specifically cracks down on pasties and thongs, requiring stands who feature such to register as adult entertainment businesses.
And how about municipalities which attempt to regulate "saggy pants"?
Manning City Council passed its "Saggy Pants Ordinance," outlawing the wearing of revealing clothing within city limits, one month after County Council abandoned a similar measure, citing public discontent.
And what about those nude beaches? Are they really a "naked-friendly phenomena"?
People who want to sunbathe in the buff on San Onofre State Beach lost their court battle. An appellate panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal shot down their lawsuit against the state of California.

Sunbathers have gone nude on a secluded stretch of San Onofre State Beach for about 20 years. But after getting complaints, state officials started cracking down.
And will these electronic strip-search machines really work to "demolish old angst'?
Passengers have condemned the trial of new airport x-ray technology dubbed the "virtual strip search", saying they fear images of their genitals will end up on Facebook and MySpace.

Children could be screened by pedophiles, while pregnant women could be exposed to radiation if the new technology is accepted, say readers.
Nudism and naturism is about personal freedom. Airport scanners are about intrusions into personal freedom. AANR has not only missed the point on this issue, their overzealous attempt at cheap publicity has set back the entire movement to reduce government intervention into the nude lifestyle.

And is there anybody naive enough to believe that these strip-search machines will be limited to only airports?

AANR and TNS have traditionally been about choice. People choose to be nude, or not. Airport body scanners are about government control of people's bodies, and most certainly will not be offered as a choice when the machines become ubiquitous.

One wonders about how AANR arrived at this decision to speak for all nudists when endorsing the government strip search. Did they elicit opposing opinions at all, or just recklessly go for the PR stunt without considering the consequences?

It's odd that AANR would speak out against the man arrested for being nude in his own home, and at the same time endorse the government's right to electronically remove his clothes in the name of "security".

One of the most patriotic songs of the past couple of decades has been Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American", which has the following lyrics:
And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.
And Crosby, Stills and Nash once sang:
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Nice sentiments, all well and good, but people need to actually THINK when they are singing and not just mindlessly recite the words. We cannot forget the men and women who died on 9/11, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan to help preserve our freedoms, and we must not allow government unbridled power over our private lives and bodies in the name of "security". One of the costs of freedom is knowing that someday, somewhere, we might all be called upon to sacrifice our lives in order to preserve personal liberties. Today, we seem more willing to sacrifice our freedoms to preserve our lives. If so, the terrorists have indeed already won.


Rick said...

I fully agree. The terrorist won long ago. They won when we handed over our liberty for the illusion of safety and security. I fear my own government much more than I fear terrorists.

severn said...

The US military is not in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect your freedom - it's there to protect US access to the the resources of the wider region, particularly oil. Freedom has nothing to do with it, the US lust for consumption is (almost) all.

And that's the wider problem - big business, including the energy business which is the largest of all, needs you to keep consuming, and needs control over individuals to ensure control over the areas of the world where the resources are.

If you want to defeat the terrorists, campaign against the US dependence on oil, and leave the Middle East to sort its own problems out.

Nudiarist said...

Severn, certainly the reasons we are in the Middle East are complicated, and oil is a major factor. I'm not arguing against that. Freedom is also a very complicated concept, which is why we have so much difficulty defining it, but to say that our military operations in the Middle East have nothing to do with our freedom here in America is a bit too cynical, IMHO.