While my Twitter account probably reflected my displeasure at being smooshed in Union Station this weekend by legions of un-city aware (read: in-my-way) tea party protesters, it got me thinking about issues where they could do good. Here are the 3 I came up with:
- Reforming airport security. Not only does the current system not work, but the major effect of security theater is to cow travelers into complying, and enforcing fear of our own government. It is harmful, useless, and above all, dumb (although Blogger Bob deserves props for taking to social media to defend his wretch of an agency). The TSA is the perfect example of a bloated government program full of sinecures, whose staff are imbued with a lack of respect for rights to physical privacy.
- Jobs for young men. Nearly everywhere I’ve lived, a lack of meaningful work for men my age has been a smoldering issue. Whether it is the young men in San Jose who turn to gangs because they cannot make a living anyway else, or the young men in Qatar who waste away on boring, government supported jobs, it is a tragic problem. We as a species need to find a way for young men to do meaningful, fulfilling work that will keep them away from ugly drugs and extremism.
- Better free speech rights for students. Ever since the 1960s, student rights to free speech have been slowly eroded, training generation after generation that authority-figures can determine how they discuss and express their beliefs, and what slogans they can wear. Will they suddenly know how to participate effectively in a democracy once they leave the prison-camps of their middle and high schools?
Each of these issues needs new ideas, new perspectives, and new boots to move forward. They also all should be attractive to folks who believe in strong personal responsibility and independence, with a smidgen of anti-government suspicion and a dash of original-construction fervor.
“In the headlong rush to “fix” security after the Underwear Bomber’s unsuccessful Christmas Day attack, there’s been far too little discussion about what worked and what didn’t, and what will and will not make us safer in the future.”–Bruce Schneider
Re your point 2: I think we would ALL like to find meaningful and fulfilling work. Perhaps the reason these young men cannot find meaningful and fulfilling work is that they have nothing to offer, no useful skills or talents.
Hmm, interesting point. First I would counter that the young men I know do have great potential for contributing, with great talents and perhaps even great skills (graduating from CMU with a degree in Computer Science implies both). I would also wonder why the young men did not have skills if that were the case–were their schools failures? When do they become solely responsible for their own marketability? At 10? 15? 25?
And yes, I agree that everyone should have meaningful and fulfilling work (though I won’t speak to government’s role in enabling or ensuring that). But while fixing that larger problem, I believe there is a smaller problem that deserves thoughtful consideration, and that is the plight of young men.
Thanks for the comment!
Incredible! Young men graduating from CMU with degrees in computer science are joining gangs in San Jose because they can’t make a living any other way?! Absolutely incredible!! That school needs a better placement office. What about the young women?
Are you suggesting that once students read the Bethel vs Fraser decision and discover that one possible consequence of giving a lewd and intentionally offensive speech in school is the risk (horrors!) not being invited to give another such speech, they will feel a huge loss of their rights? Sorry, not feeling their pain.
I very much disagree with your interpretation of the Bethel case–while the speech was lewd (not obscene and so protected in the case of adults), the harms went past being denied the opportunity to give another speech. And I’m unclear as to why we cannot fight for meaningful work for young men, young women, old men, old women, and everyone in between, in parallel.
Speaking of students, what do you think of the Pittsburgh police’s treatment of students in my latest post?