Ten Years On...


Posted on : 9/11/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , ,

I am not usually taken with overly passionate remembrances.  I participate in a few only due to my membership in a veteran's organization; the VFW.  While I have been known to 'wave the bloody shirt' infrequently, I am not terribly fascinated with such activities.

Yet here we are; ten years after.

I can recall the morning as if it were yesterday.  A small group of engineering types were gathered around a T.V. watching smoke and flame billow out of the World Trade Center.  We watched the second jet slam through the south tower.  Such are the benefits of modern electronic communications.

Even lacking the detailed engineering data that was published in the days to follow, we were unsurprised to see the first tower fall.  Fire can do an amazing amount of damage to concrete and steel.

I still recall hoping that everyone had been gotten to safety.  We now know that they had not.

Christopher Hitches has an essay that is worth your time.

The proper task of the "public intellectual" might be conceived as the responsibility to introduce complexity into the argument: the reminder that things are very infrequently as simple as they can be made to seem. But what I learned in a highly indelible manner from the events and arguments of September 2001 was this: Never, ever ignore the obvious either. To the government and most of the people of the United States, it seemed that the country on 9/11 had been attacked in a particularly odious way (air piracy used to maximize civilian casualties) by a particularly odious group (a secretive and homicidal gang: part multinational corporation, part crime family) that was sworn to a medieval cult of death, a racist hatred of Jews, a religious frenzy against Hindus, Christians, Shia Muslims, and "unbelievers," and the restoration of a long-vanished and despotic empire.

I am sure that there will be many other poignant and pointed essays written this week.  (This is being written a little ahead of 9/11.)  I hope to not share any more of them with my you here.  I have a special affinity for Mr. Hitchens and his defence of the civilized world from the marauders that prefer to impose a pre-modern existence on the world.

That is their intent, even if it is a task that is beyond their immediate grasp.

This is a contest between two very different visions of the world.  We that practice a truly liberal (the original, non-political definition is intended) worldview seek to expand the vision of individual liberty.  There are times when our vision is blinkered by traditions.  There are times when we fail our own mandates in spectacular fashion.

Yet we all remain committed to the idea that every individual is born possessing rights that supersede societal, religious, and governmental preferences.

The bastards that took down the World Trade Center, a piece of the Pentagon, and a couple acres of Pennsylvania farmland do not share that vision.  In their view, we exist either to enthusiastically embrace their narrow view of morality, quietly submit to their dark vision for a future under their control, or die.   The latter option is fine with me.  I hope it never comes to that.

This is indeed a clash of cultures.  That conflict will end when either liberty subsides, or when this death cult is no more.  Again, the latter option is fine with me; preferable, truth be told.

Sadly, I am sure that another will arise with some new grand thought as to "how the world should be." 

As for me, I will serve liberty.  No need to make it complicated.  I am sure that Mr. Hitchens would understand.

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