Thursday, June 30, 2005


They've done it

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but the Bush Administration has managed (for me) to completely debase the word "freedom." (Not the idea -- just the word.) I noticed this when glancing at the cover of today's New York Times, and registering my reaction to the story about the "Freedom Tower" to be built on the World Trade Center site. I thought, "For goodness sakes, did you really have to name it that?"

The meaning of "freedom" in today's Bushrovian politics is "keyword for opportunistic use of the 9/11 tragedy for political gain." It means: "not French." Nice work guys, a real feather in your cap.

I suppose the intended meaning of calling it the "Freedom Tower" is to show that the terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center (1) was an attack on our freedom, and (2) was unsuccessful.

But the irony is that the terrorist attack is not a direct attack on our freedom. In contrast to, say, Hitler's conquests which directly attacked the freedom of the western European liberal democracies, the 9/11 terrorism attacked our freedom indirectly. The mediating mechanism was of course -- as the terrorists surely understood -- the reactions of our leaders: to what extent would our own leaders undermine our freedoms in response to 9/11.

As a defender of freedom, the Bush Administration has been weak. We have the USA PATRIOT Act, thousands of detainees denied our constitutional procedural protections, the voting public manipulated and misled about the war in Iraq, restrictive Keystone-cop security procedures ... The limited extent to which the attack on our freedom has succeeded has resided to a large extent in the Bush Administrations responses.

So I find this "freedom"- naming thing to be all wrong.


God forbid the FBI find out from your local library that you've been reading Janet Evanovich....

I agree that it's a stupid name for a building, though.

Don't you think, just for a second, that if the terrorists achieved their real goal in America, it would include the destruction of our freedoms? They tried, they weren't successful.
Yes, I think that was exactly their goal. But my point is that they don't have the power to do it directly -- all they can do is to put us in a fearful twisted frame of mind where we do it to ourselves.
I think that country music is at least equally responsible for debasing the word "freedom."
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