"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- H. L. Mencken
“The Real ‘Terrorists’ Are in Washington”
by Bill Bonner
"Elizabeth received a strange letter from her congressman. ‘We have to be on guard against our enemies…and not be afraid to name them.’ A brave, forthright stand? But wait, he didn’t name the enemies.
Preposterous lies: That left us wondering: Who are our enemies? Muslims, Jews, Arabs…Russians, Iranians, North Koreans…capitalists, the Deep State, Yankees…liberals, conservatives? And what does he mean by ‘our’? A politician’s enemies are more likely to be our friends than our enemies. Our most dangerous enemies could be the feds themselves! But people love simple and preposterous lies. They much prefer them to the truth.
Truth is elusive. Difficult to discover. Infinitely nuanced. Hard to hold onto. Each tiny bit of truth comes at a high price: A love lost. A marriage ruined. A business bankrupt. Money wasted. And a sorry soul burning on some ash pit in Hell.
Nor does truth make you feel good. Like a magnifying mirror, it shows blemishes. You squirm in your seat when you see it. Often, you want to turn off the lights. Not so with myth. It comes right over to you, fawns over you, airbrushes your photo, and Botoxes your face. It flatters you with weak light and strong angles. It pretends you are the noble master and it is merely the humble slave…willing to do your bidding.
Myth of the ‘enemy’: Today and tomorrow (unless we get distracted), we will look at popular myths. The myth of the ‘enemy’ is always a hit with the masses. Politicians love it, too. It encourages taxpayers to turn over more of their wages- for their own protection, of course. It invites citizens to give up their liberties- in this time of grave danger! It rousts up the population to think and act with a single mind…united to meet the common foe, under the brave and unflinching leadership of our patriotic politicians. And woe to the person who resists. He is ‘soft’ on our enemies. Or an outright traitor.
If you believe the polls, millions of Americans will choose their next president based on which one will do a better job of protecting them from terrorists. Apparently, terrorists- particularly foreign-born terrorists- pose a substantial threat. Of course, there are always terrorists…
Robespierre invented the term when he referred to himself by that word. By then, Terror had become official policy in Revolutionary France, proclaimed by the National Convention on September 5, 1793: ‘It is time that equality bore its scythe above all heads. It is time to horrify all the conspirators. So legislators, place Terror on the order of the day! Let us be in revolution, because everywhere counter-revolution is being woven by our enemies. The blade of the law should hover over all the guilty.’
There are always people who are willing to use violence in pursuit of political ends. After all, that’s the name of the game.
No credible threat: Violence is what politics is all about… If no violence were involved, it would be no different from the rest of life- with its give and take, its persuasion, its bargaining, its negotiating, and its civilized commerce. Without violence, a meeting of the Committee of Public Safety in 1793, or a Joint Session of Congress in 2016, would have no more importance than, say, a gathering of the Kiwanis Club or Elvis impersonators.
Politics is different. The politician- no matter how mild-mannered- always has a loaded gun in his britches. The terrorist merely brings it out and waves it around. From Zionist zealots in Judea…to the Sons of Liberty in Boston…to Irish irredentists blowing up London subway stops…to the KKK in the South after the War Between the States.
In 1920, the IRA attacked over 300 police stations- symbols of British rule- and killed a dozen policemen. They also burned down the docks at Liverpool.
In 1946, the Irgun blew up the King David Hotel, killing 91 people. The head of the group, Menachem Begin, went on to become prime minister of Israel.
Germany’s Red Army Faction launched 296 bomb attacks — in addition to assassinations, kidnappings, arson, bank robberies, and shootouts with the police.
But wait. What’s this? What about all those millions of terrorists who want to attack us? Are these foreigners really worth worrying about? Here’s immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute: ‘In a new analysis I just published at the Cato Institute, I look at every single terrorist attack committed on U.S. soil by an immigrant or tourist from 1975 to the end of 2015 and apply some basic risk analysis. Turns out, Americans should not be so worried: The chance of being killed in a terrorist attack committed by a foreigner is about 1 in 3.6 million per year.’
And the numbers are skewed by one outlier event- 9/11. That single attack accounts for 98.6% of all the people killed on US soil by foreign-born terrorists in the past 41 years.
Worry about terrorists? It’s hard to believe there aren’t greater threats lurking somewhere else."
"The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other-
instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals."
- Edward Abbey