Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years on

5 years ago, a gang of religious fanatics bent on mass murder hijacked four scheduled flights. 2 of the aeroplanes were flown into the 110-storey twin towers of the World Trade Centre, a third was flown into the Pentagon, and a fourth was brought down in a field in Pennsylvania by the heroic action of the passengers, preventing a second attack on Washington D.C.

Let us remember the victims of that attack. Remember the passengers and crew of American Flight 11, American Flight 77, and United Flight 175. Remember those who died on the ground, in the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. May they rest in peace.

Let us honour the heroes who responded to that attack. Honour the brave men of the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department, who rushed into a burning building and climbed up hundreds of flights of stairs in an attempt to rescue those who would not otherwise escape. Honour the passengers of United Flight 93, who courageously gave their lives that others would live. May their memory be an inspiration to us.

That fateful day, many of us were astonished both by the depths of human depravity and the heights of human courage and generosity. But there were things that have become commonplace that should be even more astonishing. If you showed my first paragraph to an educated person of any period of human history before 1900, he would be most astonished by two ideas that you probably didn't notice: "scheduled flight" and "110-storey twin towers". That the world contained fanatics bent on murder would not have surprised him, and should not have surprised us.

The twentieth century was unpleasant. But ultimately the good guys won - most obiously in 1945 and 1989, but also in countless small ways as concepts like Liberty, Equality and the Rule of Law were extended from middle-class white males who happened to live in one of a small number of enlightened countries to cover the majority of the world's population. With freedom came material prosperity. Not only can we fly through the air at 80% of the speed of sound, but this is so ordinary that it happens every day on a schedule. The net result of this material and moral progress is that mass murder is now shocking and powered flight commonplace, rather than the other way round.

With that big picture in mind, the appropriate response to people who blow up airliners for God is derision. Kung Fu Monkey does derision particularly well.

As a political blogger, it behoves me to pontificate on how to win the "war on terror". That means making sure that the historians of 2100 look back at the events of five years ago and still find "fanatics bent on murder" more surprising than "scheduled flight". And that means preserving the things that make Western Civilisation civilised. So I intend to pontificate about Liberalism.

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  • At 10:11 pm , Blogger British National Party member said...

    That's one of the best posts ive ever read on the subject of terrorism that doesn't advocate doing anything about it. Im not being facetious there, i mean it. A good big picture thing. I still want muslims and blacks to go home, but now i feel even better about the amazing accomplishments of middle class white men, too.

  • At 11:06 pm , Blogger LibertyCat said...

    Of course, the twin towers were designed by a member of one of those inferior races you so despise.

    I assume you would have been all for sending his parents home if you had been in America circa 1910.

    One of the reasons why America is a great country is because they didn't.


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