A discussion I heard on the radio this morning gave rise to this thought. It was a radio show with call-ins on the topic of airport scanning and security. Although I differ slightly with North of 50 on this topic, what intrigued me was what different people believe are rights and privileges. It kept surfacing that flying was either. It is not. Flying to me is actually neither. Flying is simply an alternate form of travel. Flying safely I would consider a right but flying itself is not. What's the difference? Glad you asked.
A right is something everyone should be able to expect in society. Walking down a street in safety is a right. Being able to operate a motor vehicle is a privilege. One takes permission and a modest amount of practice and skill. And from what I observe on the open road daily, very little practice and very little skill. Air travel is not a right or a privilege. There are alternate ways to arrive at your destination it just may not be as convenient.
There are rights guaranteed us by our constitution. Many norms of society should be a right. But just because you want to do something doesn't make it a right. Many complain about rights to privacy. In my area red-light cameras are often argued as an invasion of privacy. No, if you are in a public place there is no privacy nor right to privacy. Likewise, if you choose to travel by airplane you must accept the norm of inspection. It's not the same world it was in 1999. One function of the government is to protect it's citizenry. Terrorist attacks are no different than an invading army on public security. If you are embarrassed by a scanning machine, ask for a pat-down. If you think a physical search is too 'personal' don't fly. Personally, I would only draw the line on a physical search if someone cupped their hand and placed in on my scrotum. Eight inches away isn't any different than three inches away. Horseshoes and hand grenades.
If you don't want the hassle or what you think is embarrassment, go Greyhound. The only right in air travel is the right to travel safely.