Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why We Don’t Use Profiling to Screen for Terrorists

America is a society of high values and morals, and one example of this is that we won’t allow ourselves to use ethnic and racial profiling to spot potential terrorists in airports. We’re a God-fearing nation that respects the rule of law. Anyway, that's our story, and we're sticking to it.

I don’t believe a word if it. Not for a minute. In America, values and morals and norms are whatever we say they are, and very seldom does the rhetoric match the reality. We just make it up as we go along. The U.S. is 5% of the earth's population, but we have 25% of the world's prison population. Countries like China and Indonesia incarcerate political prisoners as well as criminals, buy they don't lock up citizens in numbers like we do in America. Helping to drive this prison population explosion is the fact that we have the highest murder rate on the planet, by a HUGE margin. No other western, non-third-world country comes even close to our kill rate, and even Middle East countries at war like Afghanistan and Pakistan are only slightly ahead of us in wasting the lives of their own citizens. What I'm describing, here, is just the "civilian" part of the Great American Killing Machine. Add to that the fact the America spends more on military hardware than all the rest of the world combined, and every penny spent on this so-called "defense" has just one purpose: erasing human life with maximum efficiency. Backing up all that hardware is the manpower of the "armed services." Television advertising to recruit volunteers for the military makes up the single largest TV advertising budget spent by anyone running ads on the tube. And the average person doesn't even see most of the recruitment ads, unless they are black or Hispanic, because 60% of all that money is spent on the BET and Telemundo networks. This isn’t profiling, however. This is merely market segmentation.

As Americans, we excel at squandering lives, but we're not all that good at saving lives. America is #24 in the world in infant mortality and #19 in the world in providing healthcare to our citizens. Other countries don't have better doctors or better hospitals, but they just choose to spend their money on healthcare instead of their armies and navies. We do, however, hold the #1 spot in one area of medicine. We lead the world in the number of elective cosmetic surgeries performed purely for enhancing appearance. The need to look good is a primary American value, but this isn’t discriminatory in spite of the fact that most of the Muslim potential terrorists aren’t physically attractive. We don't notice this because we don't do profiling.

There's another area where we are #1,and that's in the purchase and recreational use of drugs that are illegal and unrelated to medicine. Whether it's cocaine from Columbia, or marijuana from Mexico, or heroin from Afghanistan, we in the United States buy it, and snort it, and shoot it, and smoke it with enthusiasm and gusto not seen anywhere else on earth. We don’t talk about the source of our illegal drugs (Mexico and Columbia and Afghanistan) because this might lead to discrimination and profiling. Instead we try to compensate for this consumption of harmful substances by restricting fast foods that are high in fat content.

The family has always been considered important in every culture on earth, and we are told that the family is important in America, too. Let's see how we're doing. More than half of all American marriages end in divorce. 52% to be exact. This is the highest divorce rate of any country. One behavior that leads to divorce is spousal abuse, and 17% of all married woman in America say that they’ve been abused by a husband. Illegitimate birth rates in America are also the highest of any nation or culture, and in some U.S. minority population segments the illegitimacy rate is 70%. We don’t specify exactly which minority population is involved, here, because that would be profiling.

Finally, I should probably mention the ethical and moral value of “loyalty,” and look at how that value is practiced in the American work place. With the unemployment rate above 10%, there is no shortage of people who would be willing to share their stories about how their own personal loyalty to their employer was eventually betrayed. It’s not an exaggeration to say that EVERY employee of a large corporation worries about keeping their job. And well they should, because the quest for greater profits drives corporations to treat employees like leaves in the path of a leaf blower. America is a money making machine, so I guess nobody can say that America is a land without values. We just worship monetary values. But at least we don’t do profiling.

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