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The Circle Bastiat

Ex-Sec. of Homeland Security: Use my nude scanners or be sexually assaulted

Michael Chertoff, the former Secretary of Homeland Security, has ties to Rapiscan, one of two companies producing the unpopular airport imaging scanners.

By Edward StringhamGuest blogger / November 24, 2010

A passenger walks past a sign informing travelers about the use of full-body scanners for TSA security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Nov. 19.

Ted S. Warren / AP

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The TSA’s threats against travelers are making the headlines and attracting a lot of well deserved ire. Art Carden’s Forbes piece “Full frontal nudity doesn’t make us safer: Abolish the TSA” has been downloaded more than 200,000 times in just three days. Another fact is coming out: the former Secretary of Homeland Security stands to gain by having travelers threatened to use the machines, which are made by his company. Who knew that law enforcement would be used to help make money for those associated with government?

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Governments actually have a long history of using law enforcement for personal gain. A thousand years ago in England, law enforcement was largely private. Individuals would take their disputes to the equivalent of arbitrators and victims would be compensated by wrongdoers. But after the Norman invasion, kings realized that they could raise money through the legal system by declaring more and more things violations of the King’s Peace. They mandated that a portion of the restitution go to the king and it was not long until they required all “restitution” go to the king. Unsurprisingly this removed incentives for people to resolve disputes through the formerly private system.

Bruce Benson and Murray Rothbard had it right all along. Government law enforcement was not created to satisfy a public good. It was created to coerce money from the public for the benefit of the rulers. Shall we let it continue? The full history is described by me and Nicholas Curott in our new article “The Rise of Government Law Enforcement in England” published in The Pursuit of Justice edited by Edward Lopez.

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