Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is the TSA killing air travel?

Oleg Volk asks the question,
"I wonder if the depredations of TSA reduce cross-regional cooperation in favor of more local, driving-distance business ties…and if that shift would eventually contribute to entire regions becoming de facto independent."

I myself have avoided/delayed/cancelled trips requiring flight and opted for driving instead.  Indeed, I'll be going to the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis this next April in the seat of my Grand Cherokee rather than subject myself to the kind ministrations of the Neu Gestapo aka TSA.  There are certainly going to be limits to this sort of travel based on time and/or money.  For instance, I won't be taking a hunting trip to Alaska any time in the forseeable future.

I long ago made the determination that for me to fly less than 1,000 miles my total committed time for the travel would be the same or less if I drove.  Having to get to the airport, be there early enough to clear security, then to fly with the inevitable delays, get out of the airport and then to my destination would equal the time just climbing into the car and driving.  The cost in dollars was very close to the same as well and much less in many instances.  Additionally, I had my own vehicle to drive around at the other end of the journey with no need or expense of a car rental.

Now, with the absolute silliness imposed on travelers through restrictions on carry-on items of all sorts there is a degree of simplification in packing for road travel that may be considered a bit subjective but still must be weighed against the benefits to time saved in traveling distances greater than 1,000 miles.  In other words, how much do you value the convenience of not worrying whether or not you've cleared every last loaded round out of your baggage or have clothing and/or bags with gun shot residue (GSR) that might get you strip searched?  I value such a carefree aspect to travel very highly.

You see, I don't like travel very much.  I've done it all before.  I've been to Europe (Britain and France), Korea, Japan, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, and all over the USofA.  I own my home for a reason, it has all my stuff in it.  The only reason I want to travel now is to see family and to go hunting or do something associated with shooting.  Of course I go with Nana but only because Nana is Nana and not because I'd want to go there.  She probably feels the same way about some of my shooting trips, few as they are.  I like my home and if I was to travel all the time, there's really no need for one.

So, the question is, can my predilections for and against travel be extended to apply to others?  Will the various impositions of government epitomized by the TSA's depredations be enough to inhibit travel by others?

No matter what sort of socialist dogma the current administration might support the fact is that the capitalist model applies.  Make it costly enough and people will quit traveling or shorten the distances traveled and this applies to movement of goods and services.  Cost isn't limited to dollars and cents it also can be expressed in time (wasted) and inconveniences (imposed such as through unnecessary, humiliating searches) and the risk of loss of personal property due to leaving one's stuff unguarded.  Every person will stop and ask themselves, "is this trip worth the cost and risk of additional cost?"

Let's say that the critical, tipping-point number of people not wishing to travel for business or pleasure is reached.  Is the effect of that lack of travel the isolation of their region?  Are they considered isolated if they continue to "import" goods and services via those who see a business opportunity in filling the vacuum by moving goods and services across greater distances?

We've seen this before.  Appalachian people in this country were considered isolated because they lived in a relatively inaccessible part of the country but they were still able to enjoy the benefits of modern (for the time) technology through companies such as Sears Roebuck who took advantage of the market demand and found a way to move goods to the consumers at a profit.  Why won't it happen again?

This is actually occurring right now with the relatively highly centralized production of firearms and ammunition (as well as components for reloading) with a rather highly evolved if complicated network for the distribution/transportation of firearms and ammunition all across the country.  I don't think this makes any given region all that independent.

If one was to look at the cattle business, big cattle raising areas are going to forever be tied to the big cities.  Those raising cattle are going to need a place to sell them and those in the cities are going to be looking for food they can't raise.  That can hardly be construed as any sort of independence.  I think we can leave the question right there...

1 comment:

Paul Moreland said...

Air travel is only one aspect of transportation. Goods are easily delivered via rail or truck. Yes, planes are faster - but TSA doesn't affect freight that much.

All that aside, TSA's really got ME set against flying within the borders of the US of A. I'm trying to figure a way to get around without using planes. The trouble is - family is set right in the middle and there are no direct flights from here to there. So usually we fly to within a couple/three hours of family and they pick us up. Then we have to make arrangements for travel from that point around the country by car. And as we return we once more have to fly out of the middle. If there was simply a way to obtain a car/insurance in Florida, Georgia or Texas then we'd be good to go. Fly into Houston, Miami or Atalanta and drive the rest of the way. It would make for a longer trip by a couple days perhaps, but the only hassle would be at the point of exit.

I've gone so far as to check out cruises. But no one sets up a cruise from Cartagena to any US port or vice versa. And traveling through Central America is more hassle/expense/time than I care to invest for the sake of thwarting the asinine TSA situation.