It’s been a decade since the attacks of 9-11. Since that time, the cost of the American government has more than doubled while American economic output has drastically slowed. Communication and public speech has suffered under the weight of the Patriot Act, and today, most Americans understand that their government tracks them and spies upon them. Travel across this beautiful land has been made more expensive, as fuel and food costs have skyrocketed. The new and wholly un-American Department of Homeland Security has settled in for the long war, apparently against the American people and American traditions of liberty.
A recent Frontline television program outlined the research effort by two reporters at the Washington Post in describing a "Top Secret" America. The real federal jobs program in the last decade has been in surveillance, monitoring, and intelligence-development – of Americans on American soil.
In the decade after 9-11, Washington, D.C. launched repeated land wars, government takeovers, and nation-building, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq, and later in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and now Libya. None of these wars, all sold as "wars against terrorism" were granted any public congressional debate, and none entailed a Congressional declaration of war.
In terms of truly discovering the facts of the events of 9-11, and the subsequent anthrax attacks, we saw a government reluctance to delve deeply, and a government desire to pack up the "stories" as quickly as possible. President Bush opposed and worked to delay the official 9-11 Commission, and its published results were then later partially disavowed by the very political appointees who led it. The FBI’s investigation into the Amerithrax case also followed a well-worn path. Select a culprit, publicize the name of the suspect, and harass that individual until they confess. The first FBI target was no coward, nor was he guilty. He successfully sued the federal government and was later awarded millions of tax-payer dollars for the FBI’s miscalculation and arrogance. A second FBI target was named and harassed until he committed suicide, and the case was immediately closed.
Farce, gross incompetence, and tragedy is the hallmark of big centralized government, wherever it develops. Big centralized government has developed in the United States year after year since the 1930s, and it has both solidified and metastasized since 9-11. Today, we live at the will and by the grace of a dystopian and grasping government. There is not an exceptional amount of time left before this government collapses, but before it does, we the people will suffer far more than we have suffered to date. Banking collapses, mortgage fraud at the highest levels, government bailouts, currency printing, and inflation in food and energy are just a foretaste of the future, led by the same Washington public-private cartel we have suffered for decades.
Trillions of dollars have been wasted, more trillions in value have evaporated, and many thousands of lives have been needlessly sacrificed, all in the name of a post-9-11 era. The Founders believed that the Creator granted all men the right to a government that they themselves owned, and could hold accountable. The Founders believed that the people had the duty to dissolve that government when it no longer followed the law or conducted itself morally, in the best interest of the people. The Founders believed we could withdraw our consent. Today, you can’t even decline to be physically assaulted by a government agent in order to fly on a commercial aircraft using a ticket you bought with your own money.
The federal response to the attacks of 9-11 reflected a real government fear. Not of more attacks, but rather, a fear of average Americans who would begin to see the truth about their government in the 21st century. The truth is that this government does not exist to serve us, and it will not and cannot protect us.
I believe our government – outdated, unrestrained by the Constitution, and soon to default on every debt it has taken on in our name – cannot long endure. But unlike those who run and benefit from our modern American nationalism, corporatism and socialism, I do not fear average Americans seeking self-government, rule of law, and liberty.
That’s why on 9-11, I will not be celebrating America’s undeclared wars on countries that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks ten years ago. I will not be attending remembrances of victims of that day, because those remembrances refuse to count American liberty, rule of law, and freedom of trade and movement uppermost on that list of the sacrificed. I will not attend any program offered by a religious or political organization that seeks to ride a federal government bandwagon to confirm some imperative of war against Islam halfway around the world, or that seeks to promote the false concept of a culture war as somehow God’s intent for America.
On this ten-year anniversary, I intend to go about my business as usual, and say a prayer of gratitude for the small freedoms I have left. In the afternoon, I’ll be in Charlottesville, Virginia, learning about local apprenticeship and crafts demonstrations. In the evening, I’ll check the livestock and gather the eggs. I won’t allow what I personally experienced that day in the Pentagon, nor the subsequent government drumbeats for war, waving the 9-11 banner, to diminish my awareness of the meaning of liberty.
The real battle for Americans today is a battle to reassert our independence from an overbearing and unsustainable state. Today, we can all celebrate that there are fundamental cracks in the federal state’s veneer, and we can be grateful for the options we still have in our own lives to live free, to practice charity and faith, creativity and productivity, and to rediscover our own power as individuals and communities.
September 9, 2011
LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She is currently running for Congress in Virginia's 6th district.