As I looked once more at the images of those flaming buildings, I thought back to the day of that ignoble event. I relived my thoughts and feelings at the time, going to work on the west coast and hearing that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings. The incredulous voices of the radio announcers, speculating on an horrific accident and the number of lives that might have been lost – running through my mind, as I started work. Going back to the radio at the top of the hour and hearing that a second plane had struck the other tower. Stunned…dazed response from all – by the most monumental body blow in living memory.
Catching pieces of news as it came in, the lethal fires, the exasperated rescuers unable to reach those above the strike zone, the panicking victims, jumping, rather than dying in that inferno, the Pentagon HIT and finally, a pile of rubble in the streets of New York as the most visible signs to describe our capitalist society succumbed to the flames and were no more……and all air travel halted. Freedom, also, brutal injured that day.
When I think back, a number of other things are refreshed in my mind. Seeing the carnage, I’m once again reminded of how little it takes to be destructive. A single match can undo a lifetime of productive effort, yet that foolish, popularly-repeated phrase, ‘man is destructive’ evades everything from the pyramid, to space travel. Those few determined fanatics, who valued their own lives less than another person’s death, armed with a few hour of aircraft simulator flight hours and utility knives, destroyed billions of dollars worth of infrastructure.
Their ‘kill ratio’ surpassed 150 to 1 and they change the very fabric of the society they despised.. They were immeasurably successful – up to this point.
Thinking back, I see the USA to be as fragile as those buildings were. And how only the intellectual disarmament of America made the 9/11 massacre possible.
So what did we get – the first call by the new, still-in-shocked president, after the dust of the Trade center building had settled, was for ‘Americans to go back to normal, the government will solve this outrage and justice will prevail’. A reassurance that this government fully knew its responsibility, to provide the protection from physical harm a free people need to resume productive lives. And, we were told to spend, a rational activity in an abundant capitalist society, but behind the scenes, a nervous government seeing looming transfer-payments entitlement while a nervous people waited, straining a fragile financial system with a shrinking revenue flow…..ominous signs.
The very first thought I had when that first building was struck, was that the Empire State building had sustained an airplane hit, shrugged it off, and stands today in all its glory, abet, bathed in the colors of red China, a graphic display of the intellectual rot of the country. In the months of cleanup and investigation that passed, two things – the war against asbestos had succeeded on helping the hijackers achieve their purpose – the building only had an illusion of strength above the seventieth floors. And the slime began to ooze from where it had been shocked into silence.
We heard shrill denouncements, of unaddressed environmental concern at the cleanup site and, America asked for the attack because of years of inconsiderate foreign policy, belligerently steamrollering over passive underdeveloped nations, stealing the resources from these peace-loving helpless people, across the entire face of the earth.
And we heard about Bin Ladin. Quietly, for, if one read between the lines, he had issued a decade of invitations to fight – The USS Cole, a couple of embassies, but easy to overlook if the dress holds dried semen stains. Oh, could that be the intellectual bankruptcy thing again?
The face of the enemy became more visible as we saw modern weapons carried on the backs of donkeys in Afghanistan’s gravel pile. We saw a people, utterly impoverished by their commitment to a medieval religion, lead by zealots with no consideration for human life. And we saw precision guided bombs, turn rubble into different rubble.
We watched months of deliberation, posturing, pleading, looking for support, and finally an American president deciding to, essentially, go it alone and the army forming on the border of Iraq, a face-off with one of the most brutal bandits to ever take over a county. We were graced with film footage of literally a surgical strike, taking out the strongest army in the zone, careful to avoid civilian death, and winning in less than two weeks of fighting. And then, our exhilaration shattered as that intellectual bankruptcy set in once more.
A nation with militarily supremacy , showed that it lacked the know-how to win the peace while on the home front the barricades were going up and the random searches began. What I believe could have been simply solved by retro-fitting secure cockpit doors and sporadically arming the flight crews, was instead solved by a bureaucracy ill fitted to think. The politically correct absurdity, considering everyone a potential homicidal terrorist, brings us now, eight years later, passport requirements to travel over what used to be considered the friendliest border in the world. And the militarily decisive blow needed to end the reign of terror – still undelivered.
These action do not show a mind able of conceiving of a means to lift a conquered foreign citizenry from feudalism to a modern, free society. The decision makers of today lack the ability or the desire to create such a country as the USA was. From the time of its inception in 1776 till 1900 England and American transformed themselves from cottage industries to industrial empires. The rest of the world watched but failed to grasp what made it possible.
A small aside, I have a theory and it is rooted in the concept of common law. In those early years, when power of life or death had been stripped from the monarchy, the early law makers looked to the rules that guided the common folk in their day-to-day actions and largely, those were the rules that guided the formal laws that the infant representative governments brought forth. All of that had changed by the 1900’s as the legislators took an elitists view, bring down laws that forced a sometimes, reluctant and other times willing, public to change their behavior.
England, lacking any government controlling document such as the American constitution, disappeared as an economic force rather quickly. The property rights clause in American has been able to make the destruction a longer, drawn-out process, but now the country is in a comparable state to those World Trade Center towers. To an uncritical eye, the country remained the financial giant of the world – to one with the vision of Ayn Rand, rampant intellectually bankrupt had eroded its strength before 1930. Few people now, are blind to the fact that there are serious problems. But, there are also, oh-so-few, who clearly see the direction that is not terminal to our free society.
Today, in a span of years twice as long as it took to free the world of two mighty, dictatorial empires, Afghanistan’s Taliban, living in a primitive rock pit, denies victory to what is still, the strongest army the world has ever witnessed. Domestically internal security rules are utterly out of proportion to an intelligent response to the actions of nineteen religious maniacs and, in New York, the most visible sign that all is not well. Rather than a giant defiant building showing the world the pride America has in capitalism, the productive system that sprinkles prosperity on all who accept it, we have………. a hole.
And finally I come to servitude. This president is calling for the citizen to exchange public service for a purposeful retaliation for September 11th, 2001. The call is to forget the outrage, the pain, and the unfulfilled passion to cleanse this world of the force that drove those distorted minds to kill themselves and publicly destroy, taking with them into death, 3000 innocent people who were trying to put in a productive day. But the capitulation to servitude can only come to fruition if the nation’s people have become complacent.
Across the entire world, the chains of servitude hang heavy from the shoulder of all productive people. We need to ask ourselves, how can a heavier burden solve our problems? Clearly, this asylum is not in the hands of the healers.
And so again and for the final time, I bring up that missing intellect, vacuumed to oblivion, and I lay some of the blame for this problem on the shoulders of one of the truly greats of American history, Thomas Jefferson and his support for public education. That was the mistaken belief, that the education process could be placed in the hands of any government and remain uncorrupted. If the 56 founders of the United Stated had foreseen the utter collapse of reasoning skills that institutionalized public education has delivered to helpless children, they would, I’m sure, have burned the Constitution and started over.
But is that intellectual bankruptcy simply a result? Could it be that, as Ayn Rand said so long ago, with altruism as our basic moral code it was simply inevitable the ‘right’ would be consider ‘wrong’ and the wrong, right? The world we live in is upside down, because our morality is inverted. Do we need reminding that placing others first will lead to our own destruction? Until that poisonous idea is removed from our knowledge base, the field of education will deliver ever more broken minds. I believe, only by spreading the words of Ayn Rand can those minds be healed.
Here it is time to state that I’m a citizen of Canada but my personal stake is the same as each of you, a chance to live in a world where capitalism allows me to produce and benefit from my production. If by chance the USA become the USocialistSA, the collapse will not end there, rather the entire free world will disappear. Hence, every freedom loving individual has a stake in this fight.
And this fight needs every healthy mind. If now, president Obama’s collectivizing plans are broken, the surge could well be enough to open a flood gate of reason and discredit collectivism beyond recovery. There has never been a better time to support the efforts of the Ayn Rand Center, but that is not the only place help is needed. Be it tea parties or speaking with anyone who support capitalism, we need to, unapologeticlly and publicly, claim ownership of our own lives, never a bow to servitude.
And if by chance you have lost your passion, that time has transformed it to cynicism, open your mind and look at the burning buildings at the top of this page, think of the jetliner cruising over Pennsylvania, its passengers condemned to death, and remember the cry of Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll”, choosing a patriot’s end to life rather than be helplessly slaughtered. That was not an act of servitude, it is an exercise in meting out justice. Recall from Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here……”. Once again, let your sense of outrage loose.