Our job is to think critically and rationally

God, this is what we all need to be saying every time someone says ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’. It makes me want to fucking scream; They win when we panic. The fucking win when we panic. Here’s a snippet from a great piece on Bruce Schneier – go read the whole thing, it’s worth it, but […]

God, this is what we all need to be saying every time someone says ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’. It makes me want to fucking scream; They win when we panic. The fucking win when we panic.

Here’s a snippet from a great piece on Bruce Schneier – go read the whole thing, it’s worth it, but here’s his key point.

Another thought experiment: Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn’t engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn’t write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn’t use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we’d reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

It’s time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation — and not focusing on specific plots.

But our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to not panic every time two Muslims stand together checking their watches. There are approximately 1 billion Muslims in the world, a large percentage of them not Arab, and about 320 million Arabs in the Middle East, the overwhelming majority of them not terrorists. Our job is to think critically and rationally, and to ignore the cacophony of other interests trying to use terrorism to advance political careers or increase a television show’s viewership.

It’s this line that most speaks to me; “Our job is to think critically and rationally“. And this isn’t just something that is true in this context; this is something we all need to learn how to do, all the fucking time.

As usual, props to Cory at BoingBoing for pointing this out.

8 thoughts on “Our job is to think critically and rationally”

  1. Perfect..
    I am glad somebody else sees the ‘truth’

    Did you see the evidence released in the UK on Monday..
    no plane tickets
    no detonation device.
    lots of books about sucide
    they had peroxide

    I am not saying they were not a potential threat.. but as this post goes.. just arrest them and investigate..

    there are other reasons for our Governments- US and UK doing this..
    releasing this to the press….
    fear.. continued use of fear…

    their ‘plan’ was to do something ‘in a few weeks’ not 2 weekends ago….

  2. I talked to someone the other day who was in terror for a friend who was ‘supposed to fly on one of the plans that they were going to blow up’. I pointed out that there were no actual planes being blown up that day, just that authorities had ropunded up a group who had some early-stage plans. She gave me that ‘no, it goes to eleven’ look and said, ‘…but she was going to be on the plane, and can you imagine…

    I opened my mouth, and then closed it. What was the point?

    It’s a good climate for fear mongering. Fertile ground.

  3. And imagine that the press didn’t write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn’t use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we’d reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

    Man, I really need to get you a copy of Mao II And White Noise.

    Seems like a non sequitur, but it’ll make sense once you read ’em.

  4. I wonder when we turned into a nation of bedwetters. Had to be sometime *after* FDR delivered his “nothing to fear but fear itself” speech.

    I know someone who, the night before, cancelled flying on one of the flights that hit the WTC – she had a close call. Your acquaintance, as you rightly point out, did not.

  5. I like the fact that if they keep pointlessly restricting baggage, eventually we’ll all just have to ship stuff to where we go (FedEx thanks you) and the airlines can use all that wasted baggage space to push even more people into planes like sardines in a can, thereby somehow giving even more money to the airlines (TWA thanks you).

    Or am I the only one who sees that ramification?

  6. Larry, I think that was around the time when a woman won a lawsuit because coffee is hot.

    DN, I think the airlines are in a weird cycle; they love the delays because it lets them over-book airlines (show up two hours early so that if you don’t we can re-sell you seat), and they really REALLY don’t like carry ons. I think what they’d ultimately like is to find a way to charge us for anything we bring, but they haven’t got leverage to do it yet because we have airline choices. They all have to do it or none can do it.

    I’m tellin’ ya, though; i’m thinking about the possibility of shipping stuff in advance for my next big trip. I really like traveling ultra-light but traveling with family AND scuba gear makes for a lotta bags.

  7. Next time I fly, I’m going naked with no baggage. It’s easier.

    Okay, I’m just using the terrorism thing to do so. I admit it.

  8. Wow, the text you quoted echoes my thoughts exactly. The right wing has turned it around to seem like the brave macho thing to do is dispense with democratic freedoms and radically alter our laws, surrender our privacy, and quietly put up with rightly banned practices like racial discrimination (aka “racial profiling”), secret gov’t phone tapping, people imprisoned and tortured for years with no due process when it is well known that the great majority (around 80%) have nothing to do with Al Quaeda or terrorism.

    This isn’t bravery — it’s cowardice and it’s foolishness. People are trading hard-won freedoms and human rights for the hollow promise of “security”. It’s like trading diamonds and rubies for shiny plastic baubles, and if we slide all the way down to a theocratic police state, it will take more bloodshed and suffering to get those freedoms back than were saved by giving them up.

    2 more points: 1) Osama’s chief demand following 9-11 was very specific — removal of US forces stationed in Saudi Arabia; Bush complied quickly and completely. 2) the chance of any organization or alliance even of other countries, let alone loosely affiliated pods of militants known as “terrorists”, ever invading the USA, overthrowing the government, and forcing their cruel will upon the conquered American people, is about as likely as an invasion by aliens from inside the moon.

    The biggest threat to American democracy has always been from within, specifically from elements among the rich and powerful elite who resent the restrictions that a democracy imposes on their ability to dominate other living things, including the earth.

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