Who’dathunkit, that we’ve been fighting the wrong damned enemy all this time?
The 9/11 Attacks Ultimately Proved A Lesser Threat To America Than The Totalitarian Left
Twenty years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, it’s safe to say they did not herald the defining, all-consuming civilizational struggle we had anticipated. The thing we most feared, Islamic terrorism, did not prove to be our worst enemy or the greatest threat to our republic. The real enemy, it turns out, came from within.
In the 20 years since the attacks, America’s own totalitarian left has proven to be a far more dangerous and committed enemy of the United States than any distant jihadists, harboring as much hatred for our heritage of freedom and chaotic way of life as Osama bin Laden ever did.
Christopher Hitchens famously described bin Laden’s animating ideology as, “fascism with an Islamic face,” later adopting the apt term, “Islamofascism.” Hitchens thought the fascist comparison appropriate because both movements, in his view, are murderous cults, hostile to modernity and the life of the mind, nostalgic for empires of past glory, and obsessed with past humiliations and a desire for revenge, among other things.
But the fascism of bin Laden and his ilk, while obviously dangerous (and likely to become more so after our utter defeat in Afghanistan), hasn’t proved as durable or tangible as the fascism of the Democratic Party under the Biden administration.
Bin Laden, who correctly foresaw disaster and eventual defeat for the invading Americans in Afghanistan, could not have guessed that by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, America’s ruling elite would have become this fascist. Indeed, when a regime uses the power of the state to compel major corporations to enforce its mandates and enact its agenda, that’s actual textbook fascism. Hitchens, if he were alive to see it, might have called it “fascism with a bureaucrat’s face,” or “bureaufascism.”
Biden’s vaccine mandate is of course just one example, plucked from yesterday’s news cycle, of the left’s hatred of America and the freedom of its people. Over the past year-and-a-half of the pandemic, we have witnessed an unprecedented expansion of rule by executive fiat, with governors and mayors and public health officials wielding powers too often directed against churches and independent businesses. The 9/11 hijackers hated our freedoms, to be sure, but the pandemic has revealed that the left hates those freedoms at least as much as the terrorists, and would like very much to stamp them out.
Like the hijackers, the left holds almost everything about America in contempt. We are told in our workplaces — and our children are taught in their schools — that the United States is irredeemably racist, founded on violence, and that our constitutional experiment amounts to nothing more than a massive crime. We are called upon to repudiate our past and pull down monuments to our forebears — not just Confederate generals but also our Founding Fathers.
We are instructed that men can be women if they so choose, and those who disagree should probably lose their jobs and be ostracized. If you object to your daughter being forced to compete in school sports with boys who claim to be girls, you’re a bigot who must be silenced.
The reductive, totalizing ideology of the left has seeped into nearly every institution of American life, and dominates our culture and our politics. It is profoundly anti-American, and in the final analysis, it is a far greater threat to the future of our republic than even the wildest plots and most murderous fantasies of all the world’s jihadists combined.
When it comes to tearing down America, brick by brick, the Islamofascists of 9/11 had nothing on those who now command the heights of our culture, and purport to rule us from Washington.
Indeed they don’t. All the way back to the earliest days of CF, I’ve been rhetorically scratching my head in baffled wonderment at the bizarre, contradictory alliance of convenience between the deranged obssessives of the America-Hatin’ Left and the grim jihadis who would cheerfully hack said Leftwits into bloody scraps for their degeneracy, their unfettered sexual libertinism, their irreligion, and their soulless decadence. Strange bedfellows doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Update! Bringing up “the earliest days of CF” inspired me to check the ol’ Wayback Machine to see if there was a CF archive from those bygone days of yore, when I was but a callow youth and the Thunder Lizards still walked the earth. I registered the domain name on 9/16; hastily cobbled together a design I could live with in GoLive for the fledgling blog; and started posting a couple-three days later. The earliest Wayback relic I could find is this one, from December of ’01.
MAN, but I am gettin’ OLD.
IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS…ummm, uhhh, s’cuse me—where was I again, now?
SO. The plan was to just basically be a staid, prim-and-proper news aggregator-type of operation. No cussin’, no offbeat topics, just serious and somber straight down the line. News items, updated as and when, with my own op-ed commentary appended. God only knows who I thought I would be competing with, or was walking in the footsteps of, or was influenced by. Could be I was actually vain enough to think I was creating something unique, branching off slightly from the road mainstream news outlets like the NYT, WaPo, WSJ, and NRO had already paved.
Looking back now, I can let myself off the hook just a little by thinking of CF as an almost visionary endeavor, seeing as how I WAS completely unaware of the existence of other bloggers out there and all. Even the word “blog” wasn’t in my vocabulary then; my unhip cluelessness, in other words, was total. In the dark and all unawares, I was jejune enough to quietly congratulate myself for coming up with a genuinely original concept, a brand-new Thing™…which, unfortunately for my rapidly-deflating ego, not only had already been invented, but was well on its way to becoming a national sensation by then.
So I’m sure you can imagine my chopfallen chagrin upon learning of fellow OG’s like Instapundit, Vodkapundit, Daily Pundit, Hawkgirl, USS Clueless, Little Green Footballs, and sooo many others, who either pre-dated CF or got cranking around the same time or just after I did. There might have been a touch of embarrassment at my gross presumption mixed in with that chagrin also, which I will neither confirm nor deny at this time.
From there, the CF fortune was made when Stephen Green, proprietor of the already quite prominent Vodkapundit, somehow ran across my Tough Chicks essay and decided to throw an approving link my way, a much-appreciated endorsement from a like-minded colleague I very much admired, then and now. After that, the relationship between Stephen and myself matured into a genuine, warm friendship that I’ve cherished ever since.
From its previous humble average of around 20 unique visitors per day, CF’s traffic suddenly exploded into the high hundreds, then thousands, all driven by the unlooked-for nod from Vodkapundit. Not long after that, my Frodo On Trial piece was likewise linked and excerpted at NRO’s The Corner, which in turn led to mentions at the Atlantic website and a handful of other Big Players whose gaze I never expected to attract, and wasn’t entirely sure I even wanted.
For years after 9/11 had supposedly “changed everything” (PRO TIP: it didn’t), I made it my practice to compose an essay marking the anniversary of the attacks, purposing to do my little all to help ensure that the gradually-fading vow that we would “Never forget, never forgive” might be upheld. Alas, my effort proved to be in vain, as the increasingly maudlin and disgraceful Ground Zero ceremonies came to feel more and more like some hollow, sick joke, in direct proportion to the grindingly slow collapse of America’s quest for righteous retribution into a black sinkhole of futility and cynical manipulation.
The foul taste left in American mouths from that collapse is foremost among several reasons why, for the last several years, I have commemmorated the anniversary of 9/11 with bitterly satirical “Happy 9/11 Day!” posts, if I even bothered to take note of the day at all. Having serendipitously stumbled into this rambling, navel-gazing digression, we’ll just formally declare this the 9/11 post for this year, aside from two closely-related points I’ll try to make in a separate post of their own.