Next year’s election will mark the first in which people who were not yet born on September 11th, 2001 will have the opportunity to vote for President of the United States.
That scares the heck out of me, if I’m honest with you.
Worse than that, we’ve already had at least one presidential election where people voted who were alive, but do not remember a world before September 11th, 2001, and there will be plenty more of them this time around.
Worse still, I’m 38 years old, and I feel like I’m one of them, sometimes.
I certainly don’t remember politics before that. I never voted before 2004.
A lot of people perceive conservatism, or even Right wing thinking more broadly as trying to turn back the clock, or get back to a simpler time, or something to that effect. That’s never really been my goal, personally. That is what drew me to libertarianism at first, and later to the alt right. That very harsh rejection of Leftism, without the stupid time machine fantasies.
Yet I can’t help but think today that 18 years after those towers came down, we’ve hit this really terrible precipice in time where we might never have the sort of normalcy that, at least I perceived, before that day.
I cannot imagine a world anymore, where I take no interest in what the government is doing. That was certainly my life before I went to work that morning 18 years ago. I couldn’t have told you the difference between a Republican and a Democrat that morning. There are days it is challenging in the current era, of course, but at least now I can say “That is not how a Republican should act” and that would have gone right over my head back then.
Is that the silver lining?
Should we, in a sense, be grateful that 19 cavemen with boxcutters, or whoever, sent world affairs careening out of control nearly two decades ago?
Did the Project for a New American Century have a point in relishing the prospect of “a new Pearl Harbor“?
They had a very different plan than us, of course. The Project for a New American Century was a neocon outfit, led in part by none other than Bill Kristol. They were primarily interested in America’s “global responsibilities” as they put it. Their statement of principles says America needs to “strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values” and “promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad” and “accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles”.
And in case it requires clarification, when Bill Kristol says “our security” and “our prosperity” and “our principles” – he is not talking about America’s security, prosperity, or principles. He is talking about his own, in group, if you will.
In fact, here’s what Bill Kristol has to say about Americans in the context of immigration.
Look, to be totally honest, if things are so bad as you say with the white working class, don’t you want to get new Americans in? Seriously, you can make the case—this is going on too long and this is too crazy, probably, and I hope this thing isn’t being videotaped or ever shown anywhere. Whatever tiny, pathetic future I have is going to totally collapse.
You can make a case that America has been great because every—I think John Adams said this—basically if you’re a free society, a capitalist society, after two or three generations of hard work everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled—whatever. Then, luckily, you have these waves of people coming in from Italy, Ireland, Russia, and now Mexico, who really want to work hard and really want to succeed and really want their kids to live better lives than them and aren’t sort of clipping coupons or hoping that they can hang on and meanwhile grew up as spoiled kids and so forth. In that respect, I don’t know how this moment is that different from the early 20th century.
Fortunately, it was recorded.
That is not what you say about “our” country. That’s what you say about “their” country.
Notably, neither Kristol nor anyone else from PNAC says any such things about countries other than yours and mine. Their favorite country, least of all, and I leave it to the reader to guess which is their favorite.
John Bolton, you might have heard, was a director of PNAC before they dissolved in 2006. He was also the National Security Advisor to President Trump until just the other day. Fitting that he depart in time for post 9/11 America to reach the age of majority.
In any case, what the PNAC wanted was obviously very different from what we want. They wanted to have America act as planetary arbiter and police force, militarily intervening on behalf of a handful of people anytime things didn’t go according to their plan. They saw a “new Pearl Harbor” as a way to sort of shake things up, and get people prepared to spend infinite amounts of money on the military, and they so far seem to have been pretty successful in pulling off that coup.
By near any measure, this has been about the worst thing that could have happened to our country. I don’t think it has been particularly beneficial to most of the rest of the world either, and it would seem to go without saying that everything would be a lot better in the world if Howard Stern had just kept on talking about kissing Pam Anderson that morning.
But then again, I’m not certain of this. I doubt I’m the only person in our movement who was spurred to political consciousness starting with that attack. I doubt I’m the only person who earned a healthy skepticism of government and media by questioning the narratives of that day. Maybe, just maybe, 18 years after that gift to the neocons, things are starting to backfire.
The first Pearl Harbor worked out fine for the people who wanted it to happen, because information was easier to control back then. Most people don’t question that event today, but there is considerable speculation now that FDR permitted and even encouraged the Pearl Harbor attacks. I doubt there was any Pearl Harbor truth movement in the lead up to WWII. Back then, the radio, TV, and newspapers told people what was going on, and that was, for all intents and purposes, the truth, so far as the people were concerned, no matter how false it may actually have been.
September 11th went mostly unquestioned, but certainly not entirely. It was not nearly so simple as giving the public the information you wanted them to act on, and awaiting the predictable response. There was a nearly immediate pushback on the narrative, and for several years it grew louder and louder and larger in number.
On December 29, 2009 Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13526 which says, amongst other things, that classified documents 50 years or older, must be declassified unless they include the names of confidential intelligence sources or information on weapons of mass destruction technology. There are some notable exceptions to that rule, which may interfere with the prediction I am about to make, and of course, a lot can change in 50 years. So when we get to Stage 30 Episode 200, don’t hold me to what I’m about to say.
I would wager that in thirty five years or so, we’ll find out about the counterintelligence operation waged on the 9/11 truth movement. The way inconvenient information started moving around so uncontrolled after that event, likely required a response like never before, and it probably formed the basis for the operation waged against you and me today.
Yet, I’d say its success was rather limited in comparison to Pearl Harbor. This nonsense about Iran bombing that tanker was dismissed by most thinking people. Only an idiot would believe it if we were told today that Assad “gassed his own people” again.
Trump was about to meet with the Taliban before they killed an American soldier in Afghanistan recently, and if they hadn’t claimed credit for it, I wouldn’t have believed it. I half figured that Trump ditched Bolton for being suspect until I heard the Taliban was bragging about the attack. Though, perhaps the two are not mutually exclusive.
In 2008, people ignored Ron Paul.
In 2012, they laughed at him.
In 2016, they started off laughing at Trump, but now they’re fighting him.
What’s that Gandhi quote again? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
I checked, turns out he never said that, but it’s still a great quote.
Well, in any case. It took 18 years, but First they ignored us, then they laughed at us, now they’re fighting us.
You are here.
Then you win.
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