Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hsieh PJM OpEd: Screening For Terrorists vs. Screening For Cancer

Today's PJMedia has published my latest OpEd, "Screening For Terrorists vs. Screening For Cancer".

My theme is that the seemingly contradictory policies of the government of terrorist screening vs. cancer screening actually demonstrate a common theme.

Here is the opening:
As the holiday travel season approaches, millions of American air passengers will become painfully reacquainted with Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screening measures. Passengers must submit to either medically unnecessary X-rays or intrusive gropings.

Yet in the realm of health care the federal government has adopted a new policy of discouraging routine screening tests for many cancers. Although these two policies may seem superficially contradictory, they demonstrate an underlying common theme of the government seeking ever-greater control over our bodies and our freedom.
In particular:
Our government currently tells air travelers, "Submit to our screening despite the dubious effectiveness, bodily invasion, and needless emotional distress" while simultaneously telling patients, "Don't undergo cancer screening because it might lead to further bodily invasion and emotional distress."

Despite this seeming contradiction, in both cases the government is really saying, "We'll decide who can do what with your body." The American founding fathers would never have imagined that the federal government would someday presume to restrict citizens' medical or travel freedoms in such a fashion.
(Read the full text of "Screening For Terrorists vs. Screening For Cancer".)