It’s 9/11 today, as most of you are aware.
If you’re younger than 34, it happened when you were still in school. And it shouldn’t blow my mind that people who were toddlers on 9/11 have graduated from high school – but it does.
Put another way – if 9/11 were December 7, we’d be in 1956; the war would have ended 12 years ago; Elvis would be at his peak, Germany and Japan would be back from the stone age and rebuilding their economies, and we’d be on the brink of the space race. Tempus fugit.
After the attacks, one of the social undercurrents – which morphed, as social currents do, into comedy that often tried too hard – was the notion that if we gave up our freedoms out of fear of terror, then “the terrorists will win”.
So today, 16 years later, government goons grope us in line at airports (but miss all the dangerous stuff anyway), and we don’t complain because, well, we gotta make our flights; the whole exercise seems designed more to train people to get in line and shut up than to find terrorists.
We fill out paperwork if our bank deposits are too big. We watch as our police departments turn into playtime special forces teams, chasing after pot dealers and trial skippers with armored cars and assault rifles. We see our Fourth Amendment gradually being reduced to toilet paper – and, in parts of the country where the people are more amenable to presenting their papers on demand, the Second as well.
And on the campuses where the generation that has the same memory of 9/11 that I have of Barry Goldwater (hint: I was a toddler) are getting “educated”, people are being badgered into line by social codes imposed by self-appointed cultural police no less zealous than the Wahhabi morality police, enforcing a social code that are no less absurd than the rules, and rulers, in Afghanistan 16 years and one day ago today – enforced (!), in some cases, by people whose only difference from ISIS’s morality police is that they haven’t cut off anyone’s head.
I’m less and less sure this nation – or at least it’s self-appointed culturaloverlords – learned the right lessons from 9/11.