9/11 — like every great and terrible thing and event that has ever come before it — is invoked to demand and justify a wide array of ends and prove a confusing jumble of conclusions. Many of those ends and conclusions were sought by their advocates well before 9/11. It has ever been so. People will seek power, seek prominence, seek money, seek their religious and ideological goals by invoking events — by trying, as I suggested in #4 above, to blur the line between the thing and our reaction to the thing. This has been a constant theme on this blog: the government has sought more and more power over us, and more and more limitations on our rights, by invoking 9/11, only to use those new powers to fight old fights unrelated to terrorism and to suppress things they didn’t like before 9/11.
Some thoughts from hither and yon-
If we’re living on dandelion greens and the market envies the 1932 lows, an asteroid crater where Toledo used to be, or a solar EMP that blanks out the Northeast Corridor may not rate our full attention. That’s the way it works. Maybe low-probability events are a species of self-actualizing virtual particles, they spring into being by feeding on the energy of instability itself, or perhaps in the spectrum of events there’s a slot labeled BIZARRE that must be refilled should its former contents seep into the everyday. The event itself will be an artifact of probability, its so-called inevitability a product of learned but after-the-fact Feinman diagrams. But assuming we’re among the survivors, we can’t help ourselves from considering it.
What will be our signature event? Like Rome, the aqueducts still stand but the era that built them is gone. Which suggests one event. Nations, like people, go broke secretly, then publicly and to all appearances, instantly. And we’ve been broke for a very long time. The decisive, irretrievable losses are like a corpse hidden in the ceiling, not yet acknowledged but more evident with every passing day. Perhaps our black swan will be the sheer speed of the closing act, after all, what’s to stop it, confidence in the market? The thousand-point drop in the Dow took ten minutes or near enough, and once it went vertical the next five thousand would have taken about a minute and twenty seconds longer. An automated crash of an automated rally is not a confidence builder.
Think confidence in DC will save it? It typically runs twelve per cent or so, about the same per cent as the population with an IQ of 85 or less, not coincidentally. Will the financial system itself stop it? The words financial and collapse are rarely seen very far apart of late, although we sometimes use the word collapse too freely, as past events reveal. It’s said liquidity nearly went to zero during the investment bank debacle of 2008. It was claimed at the time to be so precipitous we were within a couple of hours of an irretrievable economic implosion. An economy can’t save itself if there isn’t an economy to save.
Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants and debt is the money of slaves.
The socialist ideal eventually goes viral, and the majority learns to game the system. Everyone is trying to live at the expense of everyone else. In the terminal phase, the failure of the system is disguised under a mountain of lies, hollow promises, and debts. When the stream of other people’s money runs out, the system collapses.
When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you … you may know that your society is doomed.
One small difference – When blacks run riot, their neighborhoods burn. When white men run riot, continents burn.
We have lost the willingness to call evil by its rightful name, and the courage to stand in the face of it and say: “No. Not here. Not on my street. Not in my city.” There is no limit to the hells men devise when no one opposes them. “What’s the point?” a Rotherham victim asked investigators. “I might as well be dead.”
The men and women who failed her might ask themselves the same question. We might all ask it. What is the point, really, in preserving our comforts—our lives, even—if to do so we must become so small, so dark-hearted, that we turn our backs on the most vulnerable among us?
I suppose none of us knows whether he will be a coward until the moment demands courage. “Be prepared in season and out of season,” the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. As far as we are concerned, perhaps this entails recognizing that the season is upon us—an evil season, a season when children worldwide are treated like so much trash, when questions once governed by common sense are now fodder for intellectual word-play, when an army gathering under a black flag is both a reality and a metaphor, for war rages in the hearts of men, and it is coming, is here already, in our neighborhoods and our homes and our own hearts, we good and decent people who are perhaps only better than these cowards because the hour has not yet come when evil stands on our doorstep and demands entrance.
Words fail me.
But a reckoning is coming.