Terrorism, unfortunately, is nothing new. Read history. Even so-called “fanatical religious terrorism” is nothing new. Read history. More heads were lopped off during the Spanish conquest of the New World by conquistadores and the Spanish Inquisition than have ever been lopped off by ISIS. Today’s terrorists, insane and blood-thirsty though they be … and nothing new there … have discovered the weapons of technology so they can make big PR splashes with their grisly, staged but horribly real, media events.
All these horrific events which generate a lot of press really aren’t a “win” for the terrorists. In my opinion the terrorists win when two things happen.
One: The terrorists win when they are handed the victory on a silver platter. The media terrorists events create a climate of fear which the politicians exploit to their own political advantage. The end result of this is that the herd of individual citizens are sold a bill of goods that “for their protection” certain rights that they have enjoyed, even rights they’ve enjoyed since the creation of their country, are being “temporarily” or, in a few rare cases of outright honesty, permanently taken away for the better good of all. Read: “Patriot” Act. So the terrorists have won that one. In their wildest dreams the lunatics who flew planes into the World Trade Center could never have imagined that their act would lead the US Government to take away the rights of its citizenry. Now we can, and probably will, argue for decades about who is to blame, but it should be obvious that the blame spreads far and wide across the political spectrum.
Two: fear rules and people change their lives: when people stay home out of fear, the terrorists win. People who live in Israel, for example, take their lives into their hands whenever they go to work, board a bus, or make a family outing. But do they just stay home? No. There is a difference between being fool hearty and taking calculated risks. When I drive to the airport I take a calculated risk. It’s not a risk that the co-pilot is crazy, or the plane will go down, or the stewardess or the guy next to me is a terrorist, it’s a risk that one of the crazy drivers on the way to the airport is going to make a stupid move that will end my life. You have to use a healthy dose of common sense, but to just stay home out of fear is foolish and hands victory to the terrorists. And I grant you that governments have to take certain measures which at times may intrude on people’s’ privacy and rights. But there is a difference between taking away constitutional rights and making at times intrusions on privacy. Big differences.
Unfortunately both parties have enthusiastically signed on to the “Patriot” Act, and there is nothing I can do about that. But I can refuse to live in fear. FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
[There is an excellent excerpt from Al Gore’s book THE ASSAULT ON REASON on “The Politics of Fear” which everyone, even if you don’t like Al Gore or are a hard-core Red [vs Blue] citizen, which everyone should read. ]
So I’ve left my peaceful, serene valley of Boquete and am off on the CARIBBEAN PRINCESS for a little over a month to enjoy some of the wonders of the world and travel to some of the greatest capitals in Europe. I’ll be visiting 16 ports of call in 12 countries, giving 28 lectures, and answering port questions from 3,000 people.