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THE LOST LESSON OF 9/11
by Michael Prell
On September 11, 2001, terrorists walked through layers of government security in some of the most regulated places in America: our airports. They seized control over four planes that were regulated by multiple layers of government. They violated the airspace over two of our biggest, most protected cities. They smashed two planes into the twin towers of America’s financial system, and dive-bombed another plane into the Pentagon—which was built, by government, to protect America from such attacks.
It was eleven years ago (today/this week) but it feels like it was just yesterday. And the feeling that hung in the air, more than any other feeling on that day, was the overwhelming and somewhat surprising realization that government could not protect us.
When we saw those planes fly into those buildings, we realized that we were on our own. That we were responsible for our own lives. Which is something that most Americans, for most of America’s history, understood and gladly embraced.
America was founded by, and for, a strong and independent and self-reliant people. Our founding document is a Declaration of Independence, not a declaration of dependence on government. Our Constitution was specifically designed to limit the power of government, and to preserve and protect our liberties from government.
Today, we have a President – who swore an oath to uphold that Constitution – whose re-election campaign is built on the empty promise that government can protect us from the uncertainties and dangers of the world by taking more and more control over our lives.
The lesson of 9/11 is lost on him, and on nearly half of American voters who support him.
On September 11, 2001, every system that failed to keep America safe was designed and controlled by government. In the wake of that catastrophic failure of government, America could have taken two vastly different paths.
One path was illuminated by the American people and the way we reacted to the attacks of 9/11. We gathered together, we took care of one other, and in the most powerful demonstration of the American spirit; a handful of Americans on United Airlines Flight 93 took matters, and took their lives, into their own hands.
They violated the rules and regulations set forth by their government; rules that ordered them to stay in their seats—subdued and restrained by government regulations that were as flimsy and useless as the seatbelts around their waists. The heroes of Flight 93 broke free from their government restraints. They stood up. They stormed the cockpit. They took control of that plane. And, at the expense of their own lives, they did what our government failed to do: they stopped a 9/11 attack. And, in doing so, they saved our nation’s Capitol: the breeding ground for the very same government regulations that failed them, and failed our nation, on that fateful day.
Government failed. The people succeeded. By behaving like true Americans.
The lost lesson of 9/11 was that layers and layers of government regulations were no match for a handful of 7th century savages armed with box cutters—and those savages were no match for a handful of American citizens armed with the true American spirit of self-reliance.
But our government ignored this lesson, and instead met the challenge of its failed regulations with even more government regulations.
In the eleven years since 9/11, our government has expanded and solidified its position as the source of regulatory protection against the dangers of the world, and against the challenges of everyday life.
When our highly-regulated financial markets were rocked, our government stepped in to protect us with more government regulations. When homeowners defaulted on government-regulated and government-backed home mortgages, our government stepped in to protect homeowners with more government regulations. When government-regulated banks that were “too big to fail” began to fail, government stepped in to protect us by seizing control over 700+ banks, and by wrapping those banks in layers and layers of new government regulations. When two of America’s “big three” automakers got into trouble of their own making, America’s government stepped in to protect them by having government take them over. And now, under the guise of protecting our lives, the government seeks to take control over our lives, by bringing the nation’s health care system under government control.
At every turn since 9/11, our government turned away from what worked on that day—self-reliance—and embraced more and more of what failed on that day—government regulation.
In less than two months, on election day, our country will choose between two vastly different paths for America. Will we choose the path of more government: more of what failed us on 9/11, and more of what has failed us ever since? Or will we choose to walk the path that was forged by our Founders, who built this nation on a Declaration of Independence, not a declaration of dependence on government?
The choice is clear.
When Americans embrace self-reliance and reject government control and regulation—in other words; when Americans act like Americans—prosperity, freedom and greatness soon follow. When Americans rush into the protective arms of government, we don’t get protection – we only get more government.
Let us hope that, this year, we finally learn the lost lesson of 9/11.
Michael Prell is a writer and strategist for the Tea Party Patriots, and the author of Underdogma: How America’s Enemies Use Our Love for the Underdog to Trash American Power www.under-dogma.com.