I was asked to contribute to a feature at Refined Right speaking about my experiences and thoughts on 9/11, for which I’m thankful.
I’m trying to make it a point not to talk about politics during football games (I’m trying to be more positive in general, which may be too tall an order these days) and enjoy the liberties which, as an American, permit me to enjoy sports mostly at my leisure.
Despite the confluence of the 2016 NFL season opening weekend, and the 15th anniversary (for want of a better word) of the day the lives of nearly 3,000 people were immolated by religious fanatics, I nonetheless feel compelled to say something, being so “‘Murican” by now that the English Premier League football team I’ve thrown my lot in with is named after a building made for storing firearms.
I feel like I’m not particularly good at memorializing tragedies.
On my mind instead are values, and not the kind spouted by duplicitous preacher-men who get caught fucking around on their wives after thundering about the dangers of same-sex marriage and fornication.
Christopher Hitchens, one of my most foundational influences reviled by many of my left-wing now-former political comrades, wrote an obituary of sorts and reflection on the legacy of Osama Bin Laden called “The Enemy“:
In a brilliant essay on the death of Osama bin Laden, Christopher Hitchens insists that the necessity to resist the threat of theocratic fanaticism is by no means cancelled. Hitchens argues that bin Laden and his adherents represented the most serious and determined and bloodthirsty attempt to revive totalitarian and racist ideology since 1945. Further, that while the unending struggle for reason is entitled to take some especial comfort in his demise, the values of secularism, libertarianism, internationalism, and solidarity will always need to be defended and reaffirmed.
It’s not a long read, and available for perhaps less than a cup of coffee, but very well worth the time of anyone interested in defending the values which make an imperfect society worth living in.
I hope you find it as compelling as I but for now, thanks for the opportunity, and thanks to all who contributed to Refined Right’s inagural memoralization of 9/11, which I hope you enjoy, so to speak, as much as I.
I also hope you enjoy this day however you like, as I certainly will after this brief interlude, but for now, my contribution republished here from Refined Right:
I’d just returned from class when I got word of the attacks. I remember a vague numbness, the kind that might understandably accompany disbelief at the sight of a tragedy that might have been a plot point in a summer action movie: “I can’t believe this is happening.” The reality is of course much more horrific, and not just on the scale of carnage revealed after the dust clouds settled that brilliant September day.
The attacks still challenge our ability to reconcile national security with the rights and liberties that make being an American worthwhile in the first place. It also challenges us to defend the small-l classical liberal values which define and undergird (for now) Western society, as well as challenges us to reject mindless forms of multiculturalism which openly make excuses for flying planes into buildings, killing nearly 3,000 people. I didn’t appreciate it then, but as I see the West’s confidence in its own values flag and flail, values I appreciated when I was then on the left and today in the center, I understand that it is more important than ever to stand firm and defend what is great about America.