September 10, 2011

Idiot of the Week: Special 9/11 Anniversary Edition

9/11I'm up to my eyeballs in political idiocy. The idea that the way to cure our economic woes is to implement even more of the policies that damaged the economy in the first place is almost more than I can stand. I do not have the strength to write about that today. Instead, I'd like to harken back to something I wrote a year ago and revisit a very different and even more troublesome sort of idiocy.

The mainstream media in the United States is absolutely orgasmic about the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. The fact that this was a tragic event, resulting from a combination of religious extremism, blind hatred, and decades of misguided American imperialism has largely escaped their notice. Instead, they've decided to turn this into a human interest story in which they obsess over every detail about how "9/11 changed everything" and hope that someone they interview might still tear up while talking about it. I find the entire spectacle thoroughly nauseating, but this isn't really what I want to talk about either.

My focus today, once again, is on those of us who blindly embraced the lies of our political regime and willingly surrendered our cherished freedoms and civil liberties in exchange for the illusion of safety. But most of all, I aim at those who continue to do this even now. We stand idly by when the TSA implements "porno scanners" and invasive pat-downs, anti-immigrant sentiment boils, Gitmo is still open, Dick Cheney is still somehow not in prison, and we are still involved in multiple wars. Have we learned anything in the past 10 years?

"Better safe than sorry," we say, but complete vulnerability vs. embrace of Big Brother are not our only choices. Many other countries with much higher risk profiles manage to prevent airline hijacking without having security agents groping the junk of each and every passenger. We can be smart about our safety without giving up what once made America great. We can appraise threat accurately and take reasonable precautions without going overboard. We can root our responses in reality rather than fear and superstition.

Of course, we are not doing these things. Instead, we are handing over our civil liberties at an astounding rate. It is now 10 years out. I'd really like to see more of us saying "enough" and taking back our rights and insisting on reasonable policy. If not now, when?

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