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There have been events in our history from the very beginning that have helped form our national character. But few, if any, have had such a transformational effect as 9/11 has. That horrible day will forevermore be held up alongside Pearl Harbor as the definition of infamy. But while Pearl Harbor and prior events have served to strengthen our national identity and dedication to liberty, 9/11 has taken away from that.
For all the outrage and military action following 9/11, the primary response was to give in to fear.
The Patriot Act is an open admission that fear is the controlling emotion following 9/11. Our leaders felt that giving in to fear was more important than maintaining faith in the American people to accept the price and risks that accompany our liberty. The last time anything comparable happened was the internment of those of Japanese ancestry during World War II and McCarthyism.
There is, though, a fundamental difference between our fear in the past and that of today.
In the past, our fear was directed outward, at "others", the "Japs" and "Commies." Today, we have directed that fear at ourselves. Think what it means every time a TSA pat-down takes place. Think what it means every time a phone call is monitored without a warrant. Think what it means that a secret court issues secret warrants to be carried out by a secret force with little or no oversight. We are afraid of ourselves!
Arguably the worst result of 9/11 is that the American people have lost some of the spirit of self-reliance that has always been a hallmark of our character. We now depend more than ever on the government to watch out and care for us. We have traded hard-won liberty for a semblance of security.
We should all consider what Ben Franklin had to say about that: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
What will always symbolize 9/11, and our response to it, to me is the memory of the TSA confiscating the little P-38 GI can opener I had carried around with my keys for years because it was a "weapon".
Oh man. When my frail uncle traveled here from England to see his family and America for the first and last time, they took a small 2" folding knife he had for over 40 years. TSA dweeb. I had a uber quick "unarmed sentry dispatch" visualized. The stainless steel pen in my pocket was much more of a weapon, but I didnt feel compelled to point that out.
You know Jim, I'm the crazy Ukrainian immigrant's son turned minuteman here, so I'll "let my hair down" once in public here: in terms of self reliance I always thought that if Jimmy Carter could fly overseas and do "private" diplomacy, then we should be able to privately mobilize a little "doom team". It wouldn't cost all that much, and let your imagination be your guide as to its capabilites. I'll show the 'evangelical' ones WTF terror is. You think we're the devil, well HELL YEAH! We'll raise the stakes of this mutha conflict and show them to be the boy scouts they are.
And while that wouldn't be kosher, its the AMERICAN in me!
Self reliant, resourceful, frugal, honorable and FREE, as my immigrant daddy taught me. :)
So Jim's thougthful, and rather SANE, comments really hit home.
Please be advised, that underlying all of the MWP Philosophy we preach IS self reliance, and self -discovery.
Reminds me of a sci-fi story I read a long time ago. Europe had been growing more and more socialist, and not in any good way. Finally, the only free country left there was Switzerland, and the rest of Europe started making noises about forcibly taking them over. That's when they found out the Swiss had spent the last 30 years training their entire population in covert ops....
Well armed they are!