9/11 Reflection — A couple

9/11 Reflection — A couple days late, but still worth it, I guess. I just looked back at my first blog, hosted as an experiment on the site of a friend, Carolyn Ray, who is/was developing a journaling program, and discovered my almost forgotten 9/11 post. You’ll find my (I must admit) somewhat knee-jerk libertarian response to the attack. I stand by much of what I said, but my isolationism has become tempered by a fuller understanding of the complexity involved in protecting ourselves. I continue to loathe intensely the welfare/warfare state, and there is no crisis that does not feed leviathan. Yet it’s clear that war is the state’s killer app, and sometimes its not a bad app to have.

Here’s what I wrote, anxiously, six months and two days ago, from Arlington, about a mile and a half from the Pentagon:

In response to Tom… I too share his anger, and his retributive urge. But I believe now is a time to reign in these passions and to reaffirm the values that make America both beloved and despised.

I firmly oppose the impulse to an imperialist foreign policy. This will breed exactly the kind of resentment that leads to terrorism. Indeed, our meddling in others’ affairs may be precisely what provoked (though not warranted–nothing warrants) today’s horror. We must try to find those responsible, give them a fair trial, and mete out justice in the most dispassionate and humane way. We must maintain our dignity and liberality.

I’ve more to say, but my building–the George Mason University Law School–is being shut down. All morning we have watched the smoke from the Pentagon out our windows, and the circling helicopters and occasional fighter plane. This is an awful and frightening day. I don’t know how I’ll be getting home. I don’t know if I want to get on the Metro. I do know that I am angry. This is my home. My great fear now is that my fellow Americans will give into this anger and do something rash.