The liberal soul speaketh: a 9/11 attack once every two years would be better than letting right-wingers defend us

(Note: in this entry Darwinist and HBDer Richard Hoste agrees with the liberal commenter at CNN that a 9/11 typc attack on the United States every two years would be no big deal.)

The below is a reader’s comment at the CNN site in a discussion on profiling.


Imagine if we could turn back the clock and have 9/11 be ignored mostly by the media and the government. A few extra news articles, some mild beefing up of security, but that’s it. No hideous coverage for months and vengeful wars. Just treat it like a criminal act but have the media forget it.

Imagine how prosperous this nation would still be.

Really, we could have one ‘shoe bomber’ incident a week, one 9/11 style incident every two years and do you know how safe air travel would still be? You’d still have to fly enough air miles to go to Neptune and back once (versus twice as it is now) or 100K ish trips to the moon. Even an international businessman or long career rock star would still be much more likely to not encounter an incident in their lifetimes.

Life is a series of choices and inevitably ends in death. You are in far more danger going to work in your car, and being at work. Far far more likely you’ll be in an auto accident that’ll kill you or a fellow ex-coworker will file a “Post Office style Job Complaint” in your office. Twice as likely you’ll die by being struck by lightning.

The right wing nuts have made a grotesquely expensive mountain out of a molehill. The way they profit from it, IMO argues the suggestion they created the molehill deliberately. Dubya was a good friend of the Bin Laden family. Not one 9/11 hijacker was from Iran, not one from Afghanistan. Fifteen were Saudi Arabian and the thing was masterminded by a prince of the Bin Laden family. A prince who’s never been caught. Let’s also add the Twin Towers were becoming a disastrous investment, with modern technology making the need for giant office buildings less pressing and more aesthetics. They barely made cost with rent, and due to Asbestos laws would have cost more to tear down legally than they did to build. Doesn’t that suggest motive?

[end of CNN comment by Annexian]

- end of initial entry -

Rick U. writes:

Color me speechless…

January 6

Richard Hoste, author of the blog HDB Books, writes:

Your CNN liberal is right up until he goes into the conspiracy nonsense.

About 17,000 Americans are murdered a year. Twice that many die in car accidents. Let’s say 50,000 people a year die in car accidents or the result of crime.

3,000 people died in 9/11.

If we had had a a 9/11 every two years, it would cause 1,500 deaths a year. It would still be an insignificant problem compared to street crime and motor accidents.

This is why I agree with you when you rally against black and Mestizo crime, but not when you get upset about terrorism.. It’s simply not a significant problem, even if you consider a 9/11 or so a year a worst case scenario (I’m not counting the people injured or economic costs, but then again I’m not counting crimes besides murder either in our comparison).

By all means profile and all that, but this should be near the bottom of our list of concerns.

It would be really hard to argue that the conservative Republican reaction to 9/11 didn’t do more damage to the country in both lives and treasure than the act itself.

LA replies:

What a spectacularly perverse and delusional statement. I didn’t realize you were a radical reductionist who sees, e.g., the 9/11 attack as nothing but a body count and therefore as no more significant to the country than 3,000 traffic deaths spread out over a period of time.

Richard Hoste replies:

I really don’t know how to respond. Maybe you can explain why my comment was “perverse and delusional”? There is such a thing as overreacting in terms of lives lost (Afghani/Iraq wars), treasure and loss of civili liberties, no?

LA writes:

For the materialist, there is only matter, only bodies, no higher organization, and therefore no meaning. Therefore the significance of a military/terrorist assault on the United States that destroyed the World Trade Center and a wing of the Pentagon and killed three thousand people, , with many of the victims leaping to their death from a thousand feet in the air, is, for the reductionist, no different from three thousand traffic fatalities spread over several months in 50 states. Dead bodies are dead bodies; death is death, and that is all. The fact that the country endured not only an emotional and moral trauma, but a physical trauma (the entire World Trade Center gone), an economic trauma, and a national security trauma from the 9/11 attack means nothing to you. Indeed, as a materialist, you seem incapable of conceiving that we live in something called the United States. After all, where is the United States? Can you see it under a microscope? Can you put it in your hand and say, “Here it is?” No, you can’t. Because the United States is not a physical thing. Therefore the United States is not real to you, and therefore a devastating attack on the United States has no meaning to you. Only the barest material facts have meaning to you.

Perhaps you will say that I am unfairly attributing to you thoughts you have not stated and disavow. But my point is, you could not have said such a nihilistic thing as that the 9/11 attack did no more damage to America than 3,000 traffic deaths, unless the materialist-nihilistic assumptions I’ve described were indeed operative in you, whether you admit it or not.

. LA continues:

Richard Hoste wrote:

There is such a thing as overreacting in terms of lives lost (Afghani/Iraq wars), treasure and loss of civil liberties, no?

This is a non-sequitur. We weren’t talking about the costs and the pros and cons of the Afghan and Iraq wars. We were talking about the damage done to the United States by the 9/11 attack. And what Mr. Hoste said about that was:

If we had had a 9/11 every two years, it would cause 1,500 deaths a year. It would still be an insignificant problem compared to street crime and motor accidents.

[Terrorism] is simply not a significant problem, even if you consider a 9/11 or so a year a worst case scenario.

So if terrorists attacked Washington, D.C. and destroyed the White House and the Capitol and killed 10,000 people, Mr. Hoste would say: “Such an attack every two years would cause 5,000 deaths a year. It would still be an insignificant problem compared to street crime and motor accidents.”

It’s complete and utter nihilism. Evidently, because Mr. Hoste doesn’t like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which took place because of the 9/11 attack, therefore he feels compelled to claim that the 9/11 attack was of zero significance to the country. His reasoning is similar to that of Patrick Buchanan, who, because he doesn’t t like the costs of World War Ii, claims that Hitler was not really a threat. As Buchanan wrote in A Republic Not an Empire, the U.S. could have lived perfectly happily with Hitler as the “master of Europe.” And Richard Hoste says that we could live perfectly happily with a 9/11 attack every two years.

Which reminds me of another Hoste/Buchanan parallel. Buchanan in his 2004 article, “Whose War?”, completely dismissed the damage that terrorists could do to the United States. To which I responded in my March 2004 article at FrontPage Magazine, “Buchanan’s White Whale”:

Several such [terrorist] attacks could cripple several major metropolitan areas and kill hundreds of thousands of people. In the face of such possibilities, Buchanan gives a complacent shrug, noting that Germany and Japan had their cities flattened in the Second World War, yet both of those defeated countries “came back in a decade.” In other words, the prospect of horrible mass damage to the U.S.—even if it is not quite on the scale of the total devastation of Germany and Japan—should not alarm us, or at least not alarm us too much. The hint is that we should accept the prospect of large-scale terrorist destruction in the United States rather than try to defeat the terrorists.

Clearly, Richard Hoste also believes that we should accept large-scale terrorist destruction in the United States rather than be concerned about terrorist attacks which are really no more significant than routine traffic fatalities.

To eliminate the distinction between traffic deaths and an act of war against the United States is very essence of nihilism.

LA continues:

I see that I’ve given two possible explanations for Mr. Hoste’s position: the paleocon/Buchananite explanation, and the materialist-reductionist explanation. Probably both are true. And both lead to the same nihilistic conclusions.

A. Zarkov writes:

Elite opinion in the U.S., meaning academics, intellectuals, policy analysts, and many politicians don’t regard terrorism as an existential threat to the U.S. They look at it as more of an annoyance that needs management. John Mueller lays out this position in his book Overblown. The leftist Matthew Yglesias, recently posted this comment on his blog:

Obviously, people shouldn’t be lighting anything on fire inside airplanes. That said, all the big Christmas airline incident really shows to me is how little punch our dread terrorist adversaries really pack. Once again, this seems like a pretty unserious plot. And even if you did manage to blow up an airplane in mid-air, that would be both a very serious crime and a great tragedy, but hardly a first-order national security threat.

Ultimately, it does no favors to anyone to blow this sort of thing out of proportion. The United States could not, of course, be “devastated” by anything resembling this scheme. We ought to be clear on that fact. We want to send the message around the world that this sort of vile attempt to slaughter innocent people is not, at the end of the day, anything resembling a serious challenge to American power. It’s attempted murder, it’s wrong, we should try to stop it, but it’s really not much more than that (emphasis added).

Critics of the “war on terror” like Yglesias consider all the terror events to be merely instances of civil crimes to be handled through the criminal justice system. To them the whole concept of any kind of war being waged by Islam against the West is utterly bogus. Al Qaeda is nothing more than a new Mafia that speaks Arabic rather than Italian. Their whole case rests on the sparseness of terror attacks in the past. They extrapolate the past into the future and conclude the terrorist threat is overblown. This is what happens when one is constrained by linear thinking, which reasons as follows. If 10,000 Muslims perpetrate 10 terrorist acts, then a million Muslims will perpetrate only 1,000 acts in the same time interval. This reasoning fails to appreciate synergism that will occur once the Muslim population exceeds some critical mass. Once the Muslim population gets large enough they can change the politics of the host country. They can gain more and more power through bribes and threats—in other words they have the power of coherence. The American and European elites don’t really recognize or appreciate the coherence effect. This is why elite critics constantly downplay the threat. So I’m not surprised that CIA and Homeland Security don’t operate effectively.

Hannon writes:

It is beyond credulity that anyone could equate the deaths resulting from a terrorist attack with those from car crashes. It is rather like saying that the death of a mouse killed by a cat is no different than an animal tortured to death by a psychopathic child.

The desire of some Muslims to obtain and use a nuclear device against the West must rival or exceed our zeal to land on the moon on a limited time frame. Beyond that it is no secret that they seek the destabilization of the major world governments, to draw them into war or pull them off balance and into lasting enmity and/or economic ruin.

Mr. Hoste’s position is either a malignant nihilism, as you indicate, or a bluff to signal the jihadists as well as hawkish right-wingers that they are unimpressed and unfazed. Perhaps something of both. This type of disfigured thinking is not the way to the future. When the post-jihad world arrives it will be populated by those who never stopped to weigh thoughts such as Mr. Hoste’s.


By the way, this thing just got me infuriated. I greatly admire your ability to take in so much toxic waste and reply with stolid consistency.

Joseph L. writes:

Subject: “A 9/11 attack every year”

Your readers have seen this idea before in other forms. Hoste et al are reducing the 9/11 attack to a random act.

LA replies:


Kristor writes:

Presumably Mr. Hoste would not deem it a significant problem if a jihadi were to execute his own family. After all, there are 17,000 murders a year in the U.S. Why should he take any particular care to defend his wife and children? Even in the worst case, that all his progeny were wiped out, why, no big deal. Thanks to the billions of sperm he cranks out each year, they could all be replaced—the family “back on its feet”—after 10 years.

Gintas writes:

“The greatest good for the greatest number!” as Jeremy Bentham used to say, working his moral calculator.

Richard Hoste replies to LA:

Look, when weighing the importance of an issue, we’re talking about its relative importance compared to other things we could be talking about. I mentioned motor accidents and crime as two things that kill more people. You focused on the former, for obvious reasons. Crime is a more apt comparison, as it involves people committing evil acts that could’ve been prevented. Should terrorism be seen as big a deal as crime? I say no. Every second that conservatives worry about terrorism they don’t worry about keeping the illegals out or pushing for freedom of association so we can avoid non-Asian minorities (not that Republicans have any interest in these issues). Maybe it’s better for Democrats to worry about national security as it distracts them from doing other damage. Then again, it may just pacify the Republicans.

Every so often Dick Cheney comes out and makes headlines accusing Obama of not “keeping us safe.” He talks about nothing else. Of all the things liberals are doing to this country do you think an increased risk of terrorist attack is the worst? How many people will die because of socialized medicine? Neither you nor I want to see innocent people die or the country attacked. Once again, it’s about where terrorism ranks on our hierarchy of things to worry about.

You accuse Buchanan and presumably me of not wanting to defeat terror. There’s no “defeating terrorism” any more than there’s “defeating rape” or “defeating murder.” As long as we have Muslims in the West there’s the risk. I wrote the following on my blog:

If you’re not going to stop immigration or war with middle eastern countries, I’m skeptical about how much you can do if you’re not going to throw all civil liberties overboard and bankrupt the country. Somewhere there’s a Muslim listening to a fiery preacher. He has the same second amendment rights that you or I have. At coffee shops, malls, universities, etc. we’re all sitting ducks.

Now in this Nigerian case the intelligence community was incompetent, but what do you expect from government?

Focus on the immigration issue and pulling out of the Middle East.

As for my so-called non-sequitur saying that the Republican response to 9/11 was worse than the attack itself, it’s relevant as that was the original point of the CNN liberal that I was agreeing with.

LA replies:

One of the weakest and most frequently made arguments is, “The issue you-all are talking about isn’t the issue that matters. We should be talking about this other issue which I think is the most important issue.”

It’s a terrible argument because it’s irrelevant to the issue at hand and because it’s not going to persuade anybody. If people are talking about an issue, it’s because they care about it. They’re not suddenly going to drop the subject they care about because someone comes along and tells them they should be talking about something else.

There are, shall we say, fairly obvious reasons why people’s attention is focused on terrorism at the moment. You’re not interested in that discussion, you’d rather talk about immigration and crime. Fine. Do so. It’s a free country. But for you to try to advance the issue of immigration by saying that terrorism is insignificant, by nihilistically equating terrorist mass murder with traffic accidents, and by saying that a 9/11 scale attack on America once a year would be something we could easily live with, discredits you and the causes you are trying to advance.

If you want to persuade people, you need to take positions based on reason and principle. It would be an understatement to say that your nihilistic denial of the significance of large scale terrorist attacks on the United States will not impress people as reasoned and principled positions.

LA continues:

In the real world at this moment, people are very much concerned about terrorism. Instead of dealing with that reality, you say that that reality shouldn’t exist, you say it’s a mistake that that reality exists. So to remake the world the way you want it to be, you turn the world on its head and declare that terrorism is no big deal, that a 9/11-scale attack on America once a year would not be particularly damaging. In order to get rid of actual reality, a reality where people are concerned about terrorism, a reality you find unsatisfactory, you have constructed an imaginary, inverted, unreal reality and you expect other people to believe this unreal reality.

The attitude I’ve just described, what does it sound like? It sounds like a certain idea I’ve been discussing a great deal in recent weeks—gnosticism.

January 7

Richard Hoste writes:

You simply ignore the point again. The real worry is that we’ll live in a police state with naked body exams and bankrupt the nation in the name of fighting terrorism. That makes the reaction to it worth talking about, if nothing else does. That was what the liberal was saying in the first place and the point which prompted my e-mail.

People will worry, but some things get overblown and others underplayed. The public is led in certain directions by media and political leaders. All political arguing is trying to move the world in a certain direction from where it’s currently at, so your calling me a gnostic is nonsensical.

LA replies:

Sorry, but I’m focusing on the points of your comment that I’m focusing on. You don’t get to write something, stating it loud and clear, and then get to insist that people ignore what you’ve written, because you’ve also made other points.

Also, I was not exactly calling you a gnostic. I was saying that that argument sounds like a gnostic-type argument.

Rick U. writes:

It seems to me that the common theme Mr. Hoste is trying to promote is the absence of an enemy, i.e., Liberal Gnosticism. By relating all deaths as equal, no matter the cause, Mr. Hoste is freed from the confines of reality, and therefore doesn’t have to address the very real concept of the jihad movement and to a larger extent Islam. In this world view, one is free to indulge in the fantasy that the United States can take the hits as a purely statistical matter without any regard for the actions of the enemy. Taken to its natural conclusion, the premise seems to be that the United States is simply “To Big to Fail,” and the death and collateral damage inflicted is simply a function of living in the modern world.

This thinking is just a version of the zero sum game Gnostics love because it reduces the enemy to a statistic, and postulates that any reaction to the problem simply creates more of the problem. Since there are no solutions possible, the only “reasonable” reaction is to absorb the deaths, and continue whistling past the graveyard.

Rick U. writes:

Richard Hoste wrote:

The real worry is that we’ll live in a police state with naked body exams and bankrupt the nation in the name of fighting terrorism.

The statement is absurd. Like profiling, the naked body scanners are a tool in airline security that can be used for specific individuals before they are allowed to board the flight. To jump from there to some imagined “police state” is hyperbole.

Similarly, the notion that the fight against terrorism is bankrupting the nation is laughable. What is bankrupting the nation is the liberal plethora of social programs enacted since the New Deal. Against that monolith, the cost of the fight against terror is a rounding error.

Robert R. writes:

I am surprised you didn’t bring up this point. The jihadists want to get our attention. If killing 3,000 people every two years doesn’t do it, they’ll find a way to kill 30,000 every two years, and if that doesn’t do it then 300,000 every 2 years.

I wonder what Mr. Hoste’s response to that would be.

LA replies:

Your question assumes it’s readily within al Qaeda’s power to kill s many people as they want, which is not the case.

January 8

LA writes:

Richard Hoste sent a comment yesterday which I didn’t post, either because it didn’t catch my attention or because it didn’t seem to add anything new to an already long discussion. He’s now posted it at his own site, with the note, “Auster didn’t post the final e-mail I sent him in our last discussion, so here it is. He does this when he’s deemed you a mental criminal and wants to bask in the praise of his followers.” I guess the entire discussion proceeding the unposted comment doesn’t count. If I exercised my editorial discretion not to post, or simply didn’t get around to posting, his final comment which added nothing to the discussion, that means I’m suppressing him as a thought criminal.

Here’s the comment Hoste thinks I suppressed in order to avoid all counter arguments from him and bask in my own glory:

What exactly did I ask you to ignore? You said I wish people ignored this issue, I said it’s important to talk about it because of what the US government might do.

Excuse me for thinking the main point which prompted my e-mail and started the discussion was what you would talk about.

But whatever, it’s a free country and all. We’re in agreement. Let everyone discuss terrorism, with a consideration of the potential risks and rewards of different ways of dealing with it.

As for your reader who believes the naked body exams will be used judiciously (only on young Muslim males I presume), good luck stopping the blacks and Mexicans who make up the AA security force in the airports of most major cities from using the technology to ogle whatever comes in front of them. A 60% chance of your daughter getting visually violated Vs. a one in million increase in her dying of a terrorist attack? Like I said, life is full of tradeoffs. We must discuss which ones to make reasonably.

Back at his site, Hoste also wonders “how far Lawrence Auster would’ve gone in the mainstream conservative movement if he would’ve focused on his dislike of Muslims and kept his mouth shut about NAMs (that and if he was capable of not isolating himself from everybody he came into contact with).” I guess Hoste is referring to the fact that I took him severely to task for saying that we shouldn’t worry about terrorism because the equivalent of a 9/11 attack on America once a year would be of no particular significance to the country, indeed of less significance than the routine traffic fatalities that occur every year. I guess he feels he deserved to be treated with warm nonjudgmental approval after making an off-the-planet, nihilistic statement like that.

Hoste’s comment about my isolating myself from others reminds of a scene on Cheers. Frazier, the psychiatrist, asks the waitress, Carla: “Carla, why do you always separate yourself from other people”? She answers, “Have you looked at other people”? and points in the direction of the bar, where a gaggle of half-zonked losers are sitting. “I see your point,” says Frazier.

However, I’m not the only person Hoste is displeased with. In the same entry, he shows a video of Pamela Geller speaking, and adds:

Yikes, the face, the voice, the screechiness. If there’s ever a horror film made based on Kevin MacDonald’s ideas, this woman will have to play a lead role.

Interesting. I thought that Kevin MacDonald’s thesis was that Jews are a mortal threat to the white race, and therefore must be expelled from the West or exterminated, because they are driven by a competitive Darwinian evolutionary program to destroy white society wherever they encounter it. But what Hoste seems to be saying is that MacDonald thinks that Jews are a mortal danger to the white race, and therefore must be expelled or exterminated, because some Jews have hyper active, New York Jewish style personalities like Pamela Geller.

So, if it is true that I have “isolated” myself from Richard Hoste, maybe, just maybe, it’s because he makes nihilistic statements to the effect that the country shouldn’t mind being hit by the equivalent of a 9/11 attack once a year, and anti-Semitic statements implicitly endorsing Kevin MacDonald’s view of the world because Pamela Geller has a screechy way of talking.

In other words, Mr. Hoste, if I’ve criticized you in strong terms, or, as you call it, if I’ve “isolated” myself from you, maybe it’s not about my supposed need for dominance and adulation. Maybe its about your statements which deserve to be strongly criticized

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 05, 2010 04:52 PM | Send

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