April 16, 2013

Rationality in the Face of Fear

After this horrible bombing incident in Boston, there is, predictably, a move to further clamp down on people, a further incursion by the state into what used to be the territory of the individual. Our government has already gone to the extreme of practicing torture and Dick Cheney crowing about it, justifying it, falsely claiming that it produced important intelligence information. These types of American style sort of Stalinist hardliners are always there, always ready to exploit any tragedy to proclaim that now the state can reach further into your private life.

Typically at times like this, when tragedy has struck and fear and sadness and anger are all justified, those guys will try to tighten the clamps. But in Boston those bombs were in garbage cans at the finish line of a major event. How could that be permitted? It is security 101. This was not a surprising, tricky sort of attack. This was old school. Removing garbage cans or somehow securing them is just basic security practice. Therefore there is no justification to use this as a pretext for expanding the powers of the state. This is essentially a conservative position, but in this topsy turvy world, it seems conservatives are on the other side in this case. Conservatives have abandoned not only conservative principles, but rationality itself. There is no rational justification for more elaborate spying tools when these guys didn't even check the garbage cans at the finish line.

Since 9/11 we've been battered around through this repeating scenario over and over and it is time to react to these kinds of events rationally, not out of hysterical fear. And we need to stop letting politicians browbeat us into accepting whatever they are forcing down our throats claiming it will make us safer. Yeah, right! Like when? What century might we start to see some positive results from this approach? I am not sure what the answers are to all these problems. I would say there are some good places to start. Besides removing garbage cans from places like that that are obvious targets of bombers who want to get lots of people, we might want to give some thought to stopping bombing other countries. Who knows? It might help? There's never been much evidence of any of these attacks originating overseas. But Whatever is causing all the violence in this country, it might be good to consider changing the state policies of violence. If we are bombing other countries, we shouldn't be surprised if someone does want to bomb us back.

But that is beside the point. We likely will never know the truth about this incident, as we don't about so many others. I haven't heard who the media is assigning guilt to at this moment. Someone is probably doing focus groups to see what will have the best effect. But in any case, it is time for some rationality. We should not allow ourselves to be manipulated through fear. Enough already.

Back to Home Page