Grave New World
by David Nolan, September 12, 2001
David Nolan is the founder of the Libertarian Party.
Every 20 years or so, there is a day where the whole world changes, suddenly and dramatically. Often those days are marked by the assassination of a president or other prominent figure. Sometimes, the precipitating event is a financial panic or act of war.
September 11, 2001 was one of those days. The full impact of the terrorist attacks on the people of the United States is not yet known, but it will be far-reaching. The destruction of the World Trade Center will likely play as great a role in shaping the 21st century as the assassinations of McKinley, Kennedy and the Archduke Ferdinand played in the 20th.
Already, a great majority of the American people are willing, even eager, to accept new restrictions on their freedoms in order to "combat terrorism." And the politicians are only too eager to oblige them, even as they mouth platitudes about “freedom under attack.”
Of course, it is those very politicians -- the Bushes and Clintons of the world -- who stirred up the hatred that enabled despots and terrorists around the world to rally their followers to attack innocent Americans. The primary blame for the grisly acts of terror which stunned the world yesterday lies with those who perpetrated them, coldly planning and executing complex and coordinated schemes to kill thousands of innocent victims. But it is America’s "bipartisan" foreign policy that set the stage for these events.
In the coming weeks, we will be treated to an unending stream of propaganda about how "we" were attacked and how "we" must pull together to support our nation's rulers. We will be told that we must accept new restrictions, relinquish even more of our privacy, give the police and the military even more power, carry national ID cards, etc., etc., etc.
For what? To combat terrorism? These measures will fail, because the real problem lies not in our nation's "lax security" but in its leaders' unquenchable desire to meddle in the affairs of other people all over the world. We are outraged -- as we should be -- when thousands of innocent Americans are killed by foreign terrorists. But where was the outrage when President Bush the First and his successor Bill Clinton ordered air strikes throughout Europe and the Mideast, year after year?
Things are about to get a lot uglier in the United States, as our rulers seek to impose new controls on an already over-policed America. And people who should know better are jumping on the bandwagon, excoriating anyone who dares to point out that America's "leaders" bear some of the blame for yesterday's heinous act.
I have long predicted that the fate of America in the 21st century will likely be decided around the year 2004; the events of September 11, 2001 make that possibility seem even more likely. The weeks, months and years ahead will prove crucial in the battle for individual liberty. If we who love liberty are not vigilant and united in our efforts to prevent the imposition of a full-blown American Police State, the greatest casualty of yesterday's terrorist attacks will be the rights and liberties of the American people.
David F. Nolan, September 12, 2001
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