About the consequences of 9-11, and why Bin Laden might be the Man of the Century

Coming next week:  a series of posts about the consequences of 9-11, an inflection point in American history.  And Bin Laden, a candidate for Man of the Century — initiator of the most effective terrorist act ever (compare it to these).  As Hitler was Man of the 20th century (Stalin and Mao killed more, but had less effect on the course of world history).  The 9-11 attack:

  • completed the transformation during the past few generations of the Republicans from the isolationist, balanced budget, small government Party to that of foreign wars, deficits, and big government.
  • preoccupied the mind space of our elites — and esp the senior echelons of the Federal and (to a lesser extent) State governments — with wars and homeland security, diverting attention from urgently needed domestic reforms.
  • reversed a fifty-year-long trend of increased individual rights, swinging to the other extreme (e.g., increased government surveillance, torture and assassination of American citizens).
  • sparked massive expenditures on homeland security, defense, and wars — creating deficits that might have tipped the balance between the government’s solvency and insolvency.

Good news, looking back:  Americans (not our leaders) were the key force of the 20th century.  The horrible contagious evils of fascism and communism were beaten back (not eliminated) largely due to our effort.  Let’s hope we do so well in the 21st century.

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