Thursday, May 21, 2009

You're Safer Than You Think

Last night, a terrorist plot was foiled in upstate NY. Four criminal geniuses were arrested after planting a "bomb" outside of a synagogue and Jewish Center in the Bronx. Unable to Google "bomb-making" like everyone else does, they had unwittingly purchased the dud bomb in an FBI sting. Apparently, the FBI had been playing them for saps for 11 months, and had also sold them fake missiles, which the four hoped to fire at planes. The FBI was posing in this sting as the Acme Mail Order Bomb Company in what was known internally as "Operation Mee-Meep!"

In spite of the fact that the gang who couldn't shoot at all was clearly not composed of the brightest bulbs in the box, the FBI should definitely be commended for keeping their cool and handling the situation well. By contrast, the media, official spokespeople, and the political establishment are commenting on the near-not-at-all-bombing, and not surprisingly, there's not a stiff upper lip in the bunch.

The Daily News:
"The cell's diabolical dream was to create "a fireball that would make the country gasp," a law enforcement source said."

Terrifying, eh? Except for the small fact that there was no chance of that ever happening. Given that this is written in the style of a comic book, why not just say that "their diabolical dream was to bring the West to its knees and force us all to bow down before the iron claw of Satan"?

Fox News asks: "What scares you most?" about all of this. I'm going to go with the chance that the government response might be driven by the pants-wetting fears of cable news viewers.

My favorite though- Mayor Bloomberg sez:
"Sadly this is just a reminder that peace is fragile and democracy is fragile and we have to be vigilant all the time."

No doubt. But, how exactly does the arrest of a handful of Jew-hating dipshits demonstrate that democracy is fragile? Do they not have criminals in dictatorships? Is democracy somehow especially vulnerable to bigots? I mean, seriously, the mere existence of people who would do evil demonstrates that democracies are fragile?

Bloomberg has never struck me as a big fan of democracy. But this echoes something that authoritarians always say when things like this happen- that somehow we run the risk of these things happening because democracy is so weak. We'd probably be a lot safer in a dictatorship; but, sigh, since you people insist on having an open democracy, this is what you get for it- eternal vigilance, "freedom isn't free", etc. etc. One day, you'll be sorry.

For the record, however, there has never been a shortage of terrorists in dictatorships- in fact, much the opposite. All sorts of crimes metastasize under authoritarianism. Democracies tend to be more internally-peaceful than authoritarian regimes. Which is good news for all of us, since the number of democracies around the world has exploded in the last three decades. This is why the "terrifying threats" that the country faces now, which used to come from the huge evil empires like the Soviet bloc, now emanate from handfuls of alienated losers who have little to no chance of accomplishing anything. And this is why the Manichean worldview no longer makes any sense.

In other words, far from "becoming more dangerous", the world is gradually becoming much safer and more peaceful. This is a reality that the "hard-headed realists" among us, who are constantly talking about how "fragile" the strongest nation on earth is, have yet to adapt to. They literally cannot comprehend living in a world in which the very existence of the country is not threatened at all moments. But it's not, and that bears repeating.


Holly said...

Amen, brother.

Rufus said...