I like it. I like it a lot. And yet I can’t shake the feeling that this protocol might be somehow flawed.
Alternate headline: “98 percent of Americans now identify as atheist.”
As an atheist, my beliefs do not make me a fundamentalist–in fact, they make me exactly the opposite. If I believe in anything sacred, it’s the scientific method, the rational way of discovery which insists one is able to improve upon some set of facts by systematic observation and experiment, but that improvement is probably still way off from any ultimate truth. Atheists are comfortable without knowing all the answers, and that is something that deeply defines us.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I really had to wait in hour-plus lines since no atheist–so far as I could discover–has ever been accused of bombing or highjacking a plane. Atheists aren’t attracted to terrorism since they’re too level-headed to believe they know all the answers to the universe. They don’t need to defend or promote strict ideologies, especially archaic ones…
I envision a fast track line for atheists at all commercial airports, with only visual screening from a distance by TSA personnel. To use such a line, a traveler would simply have to publicly check that they’re an atheist when getting ticketed, and then off they’d go through security with no wait.
The author is running for president on the Transhumanist Party ticket, in case you were curious whom the big A will be endorsing later this year. As for the atheist fast track at the airport, a reader spied a possible loophole and raised it with him on Twitter:
— Zoltan Istvan (@zoltan_istvan) June 11, 2015
It … does seem possible, now that I think of it, that someone might lie about this in order to avoid security screening. It’s also possible, I suppose, that someone might bomb a plane for nationalist or other political reasons notwithstanding the fact that he/she is an atheist. In fact, notes Nick Rizzuto, that’s what happened on Korean Air Flight 858.
The odds that this guy is trolling are north of 95 percent, but for what it’s worth, most of the commenters at HuffPo are taking him seriously. It’s not obvious to me either what he stands to gain from trolling, unless this is just a big “we’re so much more rational, aren’t we?” pander to atheists. Look on the bright side, though: Once fast-track screening is approved for nonbelievers, it’s a cinch that political pressure will force it to be expanded to other groups. If you want to jump-start trusted traveler security protocols, there are worse ways to do it than by granting it selectively to a minority that 70 percent of the country hates.
By the way, per YouGov, the percentage of Americans who are “very confident” that TSA will stop a terrorist before he boards a plane now stands at five. Via Reason, here’s an interview with Zoltan Istvan, the author of the piece above, from February.