As horrible as the terrorist events on 9/11 were, the worst thing that happened on that day we did to ourselves. We forgot the truth within the 18th century quote (variously expressed, and variously attributed to Jefferson and Franklin amongst others):
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
How can anyone argue the truth of that statement? How can anyone argue that we did not betray that guiding principle?
We let the Patriot Act happen, we let the NSA and other clandestine agencies run wild, we began a forever war, creating new enemies perhaps more quickly than we can kill the old ones. Will freedoms lost ever be restored? Surely not. Technology has only made it easier to violate our freedoms and harder to detect when they are violated.
Most confounding to me is that many of those seemingly most comfortable with this situation, with the violation of the above seemingly inarguable (to me) truth, are the same people who are the most unyielding when it comes to any suggested restriction of gun ownership. How can one be unwilling to have any government involvement in weapons ownership/transfer for fear of encouraging tyranny or loss of God and Constitution given freedoms, and yet permit/accept the same government should be able to observe our phone and online activity? It seems like wild hypocrisy to me, but maybe I'm not understanding some nuances involved in the argument; or maybe for those individuals it's really not so much about a love of freedom so much as it is a love of the gun (and its use).
Ah well, another sad 9/11, for so many reasons.
I can think of a few situations in which reality doesn't behave as I'd expect, as though hidden (or poorly understood) laws of the universe are at work. And I wish we better understood those laws, because I feel they are important, and would help us better control our future.
Why do Macs get a (nearly) free ride when it comes to viruses and malware, to the point that almost no Mac user bothers with anti-virus/anti-malware programs?
I know enough about the Mac (historic and current) operating system to know that there's no magic involved. The operating system was for some time more secure than its Windows counterpart, but never astonishingly so. There was nothing so special about the Mac OS that would explain its seeming imperviousness. There have been viruses/malware for Macs, don't misunderstand, but not to the degree that most users were much bothered or motivated to install antivirus software. The ubiquity of the Windows platform is usually cited as the primary explanation; those seeking to cause mischief would target the OS with the largest user base, and those seeking to cause mischief are far more likely to have Windows available as their development platform. And this makes sense, to a point. Clearly the majority of virus/malware activity would be expected to target Windows because of these reasons, but why so shockingly few devastatingly targeting the Mac? Malicious people are marvelously good at finding vulnerable targets, and it can't have escaped notice that the Mac platform has been in many ways largely unguarded. My only conclusion can be that there must be something else going on, some other something restraining malicious people from targeting Macs to a greater degree. My best guess, my only real theory, is that the developers who use the Mac enough to know how to create exploits for it, have a certain respect and fondness for the platform, which their equivalent miscreants using Windows don't have for Windows, and thus the potential Mac exploiters with their warm feelings find themselves naturally restrained under a "Don't sh*t where you eat." policy. No idea if that explains it, but that's my guess.
Why have there been no terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11?
It seems inconceivable to me that there have been no foreign terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11. And the only things that come close are the arguable domestic terrorist events of the DC sniper and Ft. Hood. Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. appear to be awash with explosives for IEDs, machine guns, RPGs, etc. Various news agencies have reported for years that our ports are almost completely insecure: less than 1% of shipments from overseas are inspected by customs and anyone with a few thousand dollars can get into the country via our Southern border, just by paying a "cayote". We've been told that thousands of foreign terrorists made their way to Iraq to commit various atrocities and commit suicide in the process, and yet not a single one has packed his toothbrush and an IED and made his way across the seas and caused mayhem here? And it they could leave the IED at home and just come and do any manner of horribly improvised thing. But they haven't. And it just seems inconceivable to me that no one has tried anything. And surely if they had tried, we'd have heard about it, because we have heard about several truly unremarkable and speculative plots by people who seemed only slightly likely and slightly capable of doing anything. So it makes me think something else is going on here. My best guess/theory combines the idea that terror networks are not nearly as (and probably never were as) sophisticated/organized/funded as people have speculated and, more importantly, these terrorists are looking to "vent" their anger, and as long as they feel like they are doing some blood letting somewhere, they are disorganized enough to not escalate. Perhaps they get their jihadist "fix" killing soldiers and civilians in Iraq, and as long as they can look themselves in the mirror and say they blew up an infidel that week, they don't feel compelled to try and spread their terror.
The most popular of the 9/11 conspiracy theories (as featured in the Loose Change videos, and commonly featured on the Alex Jones radio show) hold that the 9/11 attack was not committed by foreign terrorists but by neo-conservative elements within the US government as a "false flag" operation to curtail our liberties at home and extend our power abroad.
The conspiracy theorists offer numerous pieces of "evidence" to back up their argument, none of which I find particularly valid or compelling (interesting sure, in the paradolia sense). But most significant of all to me is the issue they never address, and to be fair that I've never heard anyone on either side of the debate bring up. The conspirators in our government cannot be both brilliant, masterful, devious plotters and mere months later mind-numbingly stupid and scrupulously honest.
According to the conspiracy theorists, elements at the top of our government pulled off this masterful 9/11 plot as a pretext for invasion of Afghanistan and ultimately Iraq. I believe it reasonable to expect these same conspirators would then turn their skills towards pulling off the justification for the subsequent Iraq war. The US government (from the president, to his cabinet, to the various intelligence agencies) went before its citizens assuring them that Iraq had WMDs that necessitated invasion. The US government went before the UN, and the world, and claimed the same. The US government sent its soldiers to Iraq, toppled the government, and yet found absolutely no WMDs.
If hawkish elements wanted war, wanted it badly enough to deviously murder 3,000 innocent Americans by means of three remotely controlled passenger jets, a cruise missile/drone flown into the Pentagon, controlled demolitions of the Twin Towers, and a controlled demolition of WTC 7, why would they not have produced a single piece of evidence in the months or years after the Iraq invasion that justified the invasion and war? Pulling off a 9/11 conspiracy would be brutally hard work. Pulling off an Iraq war WMD discovery conspiracy would have been far easier. Our government has all manner of WMDs, from the nuclear to the chemical to the biological, with all the powers ascribed to the conspirators under the dominant conspiracy theories, it would have been easy to plant some of our WMDs in Iraq. There was every reason for the same alleged conspirators within the US government to do just that, to prove this was a just war, to prove it to our citizens, to the world, to our soldiers. Proving their case would have secured their position, their politics, their future. And yet no one from the government or military has ever suggested we found anything. Finding nothing was painful, languishing in this debate about whether the war was just was painful. Finding nothing was an embarrassment to the president and the country, and a serious black mark on the various intelligence organizations involved. Finding nothing did us no favors. There was every reason for elements in our government to lie, and yet our government was, apparently, scrupulously honest (about finding nothing).
I do not believe in such inconsistent conspirators; I do not believe this conspiracy.