By Alex Story – 4 minute read
IN THE TWENTY YEARS since 9/11, instinctive unity has been replaced by officially-imposed uniformity in the United States and across the West.
As planes crashed into the World Trade Centre in 2001, Americans looked around and saw other Americans. They were like them, stunned, maimed and, many, killed.
They were victims because, in the main, they were American.
Emergency workers were the epitome of bravery; out of a total of around 3000 dead, a huge 412 casualties were firefighters, police officers, medics and chaplains.
Their backgrounds, skin colour and gender were an irrelevance. Most Americans, though, reacted admirably.
They were called upon by fate to become greater men and women and they answered with a patriotic roar that they would never be cowed.
On their side, the perpetrators justified the attack by quoting from sacred texts and by condemning every single American.
“The people of America are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us”, wrote the late Bin Laden in his 2002 Letter To America.
In short, every American was, and is, guilty and would pay.
And pay they did – in blood and treasure.
In September 2001, in the early days of Bush Junior’s first administration, the United States ran a surplus.
The current official deficit for 2021 is $3 trillion dollars.
Debt was close to $30 trillion as of August 2020, markedly above that year’s gross domestic product.
The ever-increasing debt load is crushing the working men and women of America.
Some estimates, if all Federal liabilities are actually counted, show that the average American owns close to $900,000 of the total debt. The median wage per worker in the US is $47,000 per year.
However, it is enriching those close to the centres of political power.
The expanding Federal balance sheet has given the best connected increasingly easy access to all government budgets.
The gorging, of course, happens far away from prying eyes and the public in whose name all this is done. In addition, the lack of scrutiny is aided and abetted by quantitative easing.
Money printing has enabled officials to by-pass electorates, which are seen as mostly irrelevant. It has also allowed politicians to think that everything and anything is affordable.
Indeed, what need is there of fiscal discipline if one can just print the money, consequence free, to paper over the growing spending gaps without needing to refer to pesky voters? As a result, the unity that seemed so solid in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack has vanished under the corrosive effects of official cynicism, incompetence and greed.
The Unity when we first witnessed it in the street of New York two decades ago was spontaneous, heartfelt and inspiring.
The natural impulse of all Americans to pull together, to forget the petty and focus on fundamentals spread across the Western World.
NATO invoked Article 5 stating that an attack on one of its members was an attack on all.
In France, a country renowned for its habitual anti-Americanism, the left leaning newspaper Le Monde thundered on its front page a mere two days after the attacks: “We are All Americans”.
Today the US administration itself would find it impossible to utter such a line.
It might make a statement of sorts but would feel the need to add an endless alphabet soup of artificially constructed and continuously shrinking sub-groups of manufactured self-appointed victims.
While retreating from Kabul had been on the cards for some time, the official line in the US, repeated ad nauseam in countless media outlets, academic circles, (formerly) charitable organisations and every single level of governance, is that America is under threat from home grown, ill-defined, and unproven, native terrorists.
This uniformity of thought, so obvious to all bystanders, is nothing other than a herd-like defence mechanism of a leadership class that has seen its “End of History” theories tested in the real world and found catastrophically wanting.
It is exemplified by a recent statement from the State Department, which announced that “we have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government”. The statement showed an administration absolutely detached from the reality on the ground. The US administration, under Biden, retreated from Afghanistan in total chaos only three weeks ago.
It left Americans behind as quasi-hostages, and in the process gave travel priority to over a hundred thousand unvetted Afghans over US Citizens as Kabul fell to the Taliban. And yet, it still insists on pushing a defunct ideology that did not survive one day after America’s Afghan pull-out and despite having spent a combined $3billion dollars along with Western allies on education in the country over the years.
Unfortunately this officialised Uniformity is to be found across all Western institutions. It is righteous and dumb; embedded and blind; verbose, unintelligible and inelegant. Worst of all, it is an utter failure. All corporations, universities, civil service bodies, museums, schools and trade bodies are enforcing this uniformity of thought.
Interestingly, this enforcement process is turning organisations against their constituents.
Whereas Unity comes naturally when based on intrinsic commonalities, such as a flag, a constitution, and a language; Uniformity must be centrally enforced, excluding intellectual diversity in the process. The end result of this imposition is turning the powerful against the powerless and denying the idea of consent in the act of ruling.
“Might now makes Right” even when the policies of the so-called powerful are demonstrable and repeated fiascos.
Over the last two decades, Americans have seen the sense of Unity they genuinely felt be exploited by an intellectually bankrupt ruling caste that has lost all anchoring and turned against them.
The only part of the United States of America that is currently united is the caste represented in all leadership and human resource positions across most organisations in the land.
Without ruthless enforcement mechanisms, however, their ideology would vanish as fast as it did when it was forced out of Afghanistan only a few weeks ago.
Their only victory is power and its application. They are neither loved, nor respected, nor esteemed. And how could they be given the contempt they show their own countrymen all so regularly? Day after day, their priorities drift further away from the soil of the country that gave them everything.
As for the victims of 9/11 and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend America’s honour, one day, it is to be hoped, there will be people in charge worthy of your unforgotten sacrifice.
Alex Story is a senior manager at a City brokerage, where he works closely with hedge funds and other financial institutions. A rower, he represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games and won the Boat Race for Cambridge on two occasions. His team still holds the course record. @alexpstory
Photo of Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial by bluebeat76 from Adobe Stock