FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Our Evil Gift to a Generation Which Didn’t Deserve it

“Nothing,” economist Milton Friedman once observed, “is so permanent as a temporary government program.” And nothing makes a government’s programs — or, more importantly, changes in its core values — more permanent than the loss of collective memory that comes with generational changes.

We’re hitting a big one soon. It worries me.

Next year, the first generation of Americans who weren’t yet born on September 11, 2001 will come of age. They’ll graduate high school. They’ll get jobs. They’ll vote.

What they will not do, because they can’t, is remember: Remember a time before the 9/11 attacks, or the changes in American society that took place in the aftermath of those attacks. They won’t be equipped to yearn for better days that they’ve only heard about at second hand from their parents and grandparents.

They won’t remember a time when one could walk into an airport and get on an airplane without risking sexual assault in public by employees of the Transportation Security Administration.

They won’t remember a time before the domestic national security state was consolidated under an overtly nationalist label more appropriate to its creators’ police state aspirations: The Department of Homeland Security.

They won’t remember an era when the news wasn’t dotted with reports of American troops killed in Afghanistan, which the US has occupied since before they took their first steps.

They won’t notice that the US Border Patrol is twice as large now (20,000 employees) as it was when they were born and four times as large as it was in 1995. Or that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, roughly the same size, wasn’t even created until shortly after they were born to replace the smaller and slightly less Darth-Vaderish Immigration and Naturalization Service.

They won’t remember a time when the incidence of police “checkpoints” conducting unconstitutional searches in the name of stopping DUIs and drug trafficking ranged from exceedingly rare to non-existent (and when they were fewer than now for immigration enforcement in the 100-mile wide “constitution-free zone” on the borders and coastlines), or when there weren’t cameras at every intersection and scattered between to watch them whenever they left their homes.

Because they won’t remember those days, all the evils we’ve allowed the state to impose upon us since 2001 will seem, well, normal to them. And from normality follows permanence.

We’ve failed this next generation. Let’s hope they do a better job of saving themselves than we did of saving them.

 

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail