There’s regular stupid and then there’s 9/11 stupid.
James S. Robbins is making an argument that we need the constant threat of terrorism and/or attack to keep us hypervigilant in the face of yet more attacks that then shouldn’t happen, which would in turn make us less vigilant and therefore in need of further attacks. I always labored under the impression that the point of our foreign affairs, whether or not we agree with the manner and method in which they’re conducted, was to protect and improve our way of life.
We’ve already begun some of the post-9/11 romanticization of the 9/12 world, how everyone was together and frolicking through fields of daisies while giant videos of Rudy Giuliani assuring us played on standard-definition TVs and we had crazy end-of-the-world disease-free sex. What I remember, however, is a bunch of us standing around a bag that someone had left in a hallway at school and debating whether or not to call 911. I remember looking up at every airplane that seemed a little bit too close and wondering if this was the next one. I remember feeling powerless and clueless and having as my only guidepost a color-coded strip that told us we were either fucked, super fucked or Assbangers 9: Return To Glory Hole, depending on the day.
That feeling we all had for the two or three years following 9/11 was only desirable from the perspective that Robbins is shilling for – the rise to power type of neoconservatism which only thrives in moments of great national crisis and soul-searching angst. There’s no actual benefit to a constant national freakout for any of the people freaking out…and why would there be? You don’t freak out if you have a plan, and if you have a plan that’s working you remove the need to freak out. If you’re not freaking out, you return to your normal way of life, perhaps a bit warier but still enjoying your morning coffee and hoping you don’t have to argue your way out of a late penalty for your cable bill.
I don’t know that there’s anyone outside of conservative intellectual circles who’s really wishing that we could all live as if the sky were falling. If there is, however, I would then ask what it is that we’re supposed to be fighting for as we take on Islamofascitarianistism? If our very way of life welcomes the things that destroy it, then we’re paradoxically better off not doing anything, welcoming attacks, and letting those who hate and kill us dictate to us the course and nature of our wants and needs.
If that’s the case, then, I have but one request: stop trying to govern us before you kill us, please. Go get a leftover replica of the set from Passenger 57 and relive Flight 93 to your heart’s content, if you must, but I’d rather keep my family safe than satisfy your sloppy warrior’s lust for a nation of paranoiacs ready to nuke anyone who looks at us funny.