how we treat foriegners is a leading indicator


What's most amazing about all of this is that even 9 years after the 9/11 attacks and even after the radical reduction of basic rights during the Bush/Cheney years, the reaction is still exactly the same to every Terrorist attack, whether a success or failure, large- or small-scale...

It really is the case that every new Terrorist incident reflexively produces a single-minded focus on one question: which rights should we take away now/which new powers should we give the Government? We never reach the point where we decide that we have already retracted enough rights. Further restrictions on rights seems to be the only reaction of which our political and media class is capable in the face of a new attack. The premise seems to be that if we keep limiting rights further and further, we'll eventually reach the magical point of Absolute Safety where there will be no more Terrorism. For so many reasons, that is an obvious myth, one that ensures that we'll reduce rights infinitely and with no discernible benefit.

Sadly, this is old news. I can't really say I find the Obama administration to be a disappointment in this regard, but only because my expectations were so low to begin with:

And herein lies the real problem. The political center in this country, if the actions of the political class are any indicator (and is there any reason to think that they aren't?) is still so irrationally afraid of terrorism that there is broad support for shredding the Bill of Rights in the name of the appearance of security.

And no politician is going to fix that. This is a cultural problem. The politics merely reflect that.

1 comment:

RW said...

Because we don't have national discussions, we have matches. The last time there was an actual discussion in this country was, I think, like, 1886.

I predict in a hundred years there will be a different structure to what we know as the "United States". Every day that goes by I become more and more in favor of the Balkanization of the US. We cry about the three thousand killed in 9/11 but then we turn around and have nothing but venom for each other. We're in such a political knife fight right now we couldn't defend ourselves from a spit ball without putting the blame on somebody we live with.

There are no people I can find anywhere less deserving of world leadership than we are right now.