There is a widespread phenomenon in the Western democracies that I refer to as “hassling the law-abiding”. I’m familiar with the American version, but the Canadian, Australian, and Western European versions are surely similar.
The general idea is this: complex modern welfare states mobilize bureaucrats and law-enforcement agents to coerce conformity from ordinary people — normal well-behaved citizens who are (mostly) peaceful and productive members of society.
The prototype — some might say the Platonic ideal — of hassling the law-abiding occurs every day at the airport. When I travel by air I have to stand in line for half an hour, have my baggage X-rayed, remove my shoes and belt, and endure TSA employees staring at my junk on a screen. These procedures are supposed to ensure my “security”, but all they really do is display the absolute power of the State and allow sadistic low-level employees to get their jollies humiliating and inconveniencing thousands of innocent travelers a day.
Similar examples may be found at police sobriety checkpoints, or in school pat-downs, or at the National Capitol Visitors’ Center. Any added security is minimal, and mostly illusory — how many lives have been saved by these humiliating, intrusive, and authoritarian procedures? And how many billions (or trillions) of dollars do they cost the taxpayer every year?