This LTE was sent to the Victoria Times Colonist shortly after 9/11happened, something to hold in mind when asked by President Obama to make 9/11 the day of public service.
On September 11th 2001, some 3500 of our fellow citizens started their day the same way we did, harboring no grudge toward others and simply wanting to put in a productive day. They were denied that desire by nineteen people with a death wish and a determination to take as many innocent people with them as possible. It is to late to help the victims but they will not have died in vain if we learn from the massacre that took their lives.
There are three things we need to keep in mind about the perpetrators of these murders.
Firstly they both hated and feared capitalism – freedom, for those more comfortable with politically correct words. For too many years, we in the free world, in an attempt to avoid confrontation, have not pointed out that capitalism and freedom are irrevocably linked. To quote Kenneth Minogue ‘capitalism is what people do if you leave them alone.’ That is the reason why wealth follows capitalism, because it so closely matches human nature. When free of restrictions, each of us gives our support to the things we value the most and inevitably we support those people who give us things that enhance our freedom. Freedom gave us capitalism and capitalism continues to give us back ever more freedom. Cars, washers, airplanes, velcro, telephones, ball point pens, computers, zippers and endless other items, these are all things that free more of our one constant in life, time, to pursue in the most rewarding manner we can think of.
The murderers who brought down the World Trade Center towers pick their targets well. While the greatest symbol of freedom is the Statue of Liberty, the most visible symbol of capitalism was the Trade Center towers. These murderers problem with capitalism was two fold: they hated capitalism for the phenomenal goods and services it makes available, and they feared capitalism for what it does to the people of their own countries.
They try to hold their own people in the iron grip of an unforgiving and unmodifiable medieval religion that can’t compete with capitalism. They desire an impoverished quality of life for all. Bin Laden, who has enough money to live where and how he wants, chooses instead a prayer blanket, an AK-47 and a cave in a desolate gravel pit.
Secondly, they were so poor, they had to steal the tools they used for killing from the very people they are trying to destroy, from us. Without access to our technology, they would never have achieved any notoriety at all. They might have killed a few people with their bare hands but without access to capitalist technology, they would never be a problem. But instead of denying them access to harm us, we’ve now begun to dismantle our freedoms in a futile effort to defend ourselves.
Thirdly, they were very determined. They held their distorted values so dear, they had no difficulty dying for them. As Victor Hugo stated years ago ‘there is nothing as strong as an idea who’s time has come. Their ideas gave them the strength to destroy the WTC.
And that brings up the main question for us, do we believe as passionately that we have the right to defend our way of life from people who are determined to destroy that way of life? How strongly do we hold our ideals? Only by being outrage at what was done to us and becoming determined to fight tooth and nail to preserve our way of life will we win. Even with our somewhat crippled semi-capitalistic system we can easy produce far more than these barbarians could even think of destroying.
But we also need to remind our governments that a return to pre September 11th standards is not an option. Black Tuesday happened because our government’s main focus has become the redistribution of our wealth and, rather than protecting individuals from aggression, the focus has become tax and spend. That is one of the reasons why we keep hearing our leaders urge us to ‘get back to normal’ because they see no tax revenue coming in while they can’t stop what is going out.
Our inept political leaders consider that by installing more and more bureaucrats to monitor our every action and transaction, they can make society safe. They fail to remember, in North America some 400 million of us did largely live in peace before 9/11. More policing of the law abiding members of our world won’t help.
Over-reacting and turning our society into a police state will not stop terrorism but the additional restrictions may well destroy our economy. It is physically impossible be everywhere and stop every destructive act but if we had simply kept nineteen people from having access to the cockpit’s of four airliners, 6000 people would be alive today.
We are concentrating too much effort on a result without addressing the cause. We know each terrorist was trained to believe in the moral correctness of his cause, a cause that justifies death for us even if it costs his own life. We also know his trainers value their own lives more for they send their disciples out to do the killing.
Self-preservation dictates that we focus our anger on those leaders and tell them to change or they will die.
Respect for life must be reciprocal. Someone with no respect for your life is your enemy and inevitably it becomes you or him. We have no choice but to be brutal to those who choose to be brutal to us. Until they change or are eliminated, we can never be truly safe.