The world trade center attacks came at a crucial time for America. We had just left behind the Clinton years with their embrace of diversity, and come back to a Reagan-style idea that America might be more than an “idea” but a people.
In fact the Left were, as is the norm, jumping up and down and swearing that George W. Bush was the second coming of Hitler, in compared to Bill Clinton, who was somewhere between pop culture hippie Jesus and Robespierre in his rigid adherence to “principle” (really: symbolism in the visual aesthetics of his acts, which were more gestures than policy, fitting within the 1960s counterculture model).
They learned during the 1980s that if you got enough human monkeys jumping up and down and screeching about a leader, even if that leader was doing something good, you could create an effective “counter-culture” which spread socially like a virus. Everyone wants to be hip, whoever is doing the responsible thing in power is by definition not hip and cool (basically: disinterested, disaffected, narcissistic, and disconnected), and so if you set yourselves up as bold iconoclasts venturing beyond the safe, normal, and routine, people will follow you.
During the 1980s, the Right built up a government to defeat the Soviets; the Left built up a culture to replace the Right. When the threat was gone, the Right took a break, and the Left took over. This time, they had learned from Reagan: instead of fixing everything so that no one wanted to go back to the failing days of Carter, the Left would wreck everything so that it could not be fixed.
Bill Clinton stepped up and did the dirty work, being an LBJ/JFK-styled political animal. Under Clinton, America became proud of its diversity and this quickly took over everything else. We created a paradoxical identity for ourselves, that our identity was that we had no identity, and that our goal was to have no goals. We were the “agree to disagree” nation.
When Bush took over afterwards, he thought he was inheriting 1980s America as did most Americans. People know the world as it was when they turned sixteen, and most do not update their understanding since that time. For the people in authority in the 2000s, most of whom were born in the 1940s and 1950s, America was still a place where hard work got you ahead.
In reality, in the post-Clinton years, America was a place where playing nice with government got you ahead. Government had intruded at every level of business during the Carter years, and Reagan fixed that rather than abolishing it, then Clinton turned it up all the way. Jobs essentially became regulatory creations where playing well with diversity was more important than being good at anything.
This meant that for most of us, society had become adversarial. The government took our money and wrote us tickets when it needed more; jobs meant flattering idiots because they were of the right color, religion, or sex; money was made by public relations exercises and when most of the citizens were fooled into thinking something was new and cool, huge money came your way, but otherwise, you could do a perfect job and be totally ignored.
America had inverted itself, as always happens under democracy, from the nation of its founding. Old America succeeded because people got ahead for results; nu-Amerika rewarded process, ideology, and popularity. It had become a trendy hippie society that fused with corporate reams of rules and a desire to sell high-margin products, or cheap junk marked up because it was “new.”
Even more, China became inescapable. Clothes got really cheap in the 1990s, as did most consumer items, but they also became junk that you used for a few years and then allowed to drift out of your life. Business went from trying to do anything in America, since the Clinton-era rules especially affirmative action wrecked that, to doing all the work in China and then selling the marked-up low-quality stuff in America and Europe.
By the time 9/11 came around, America was not a country, but a shopping mall. We had mall guards to keep us in line. Thanks to high taxes, it cost thousands just to live, so everyone was enslaved to their jobs. Since jobs were now political creations, it was impossible to say anything but that which affirmed the dominant leftism+consumerism ideology. Those who stepped out of line were destroyed. We had become the mirror image of the Soviet Union, except that instead of Communism we had consumerism.
Even more, during the Clinton years the floodgates opened and migrants both legal and illegal came into the USA. Thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, they also received affirmative action protection, with which the legal doctrine of “disparate impact” basically said that if there were minorities (sexual, ethnic, religious) who were not doing well, it was the fault of industry for not hiring them. Industry hired tons of them, and then hired backup labor to do their jobs, so jobs became granular and boring, with each person acting out a highly specific role with credentials and experience to match. The flexibility of the old America, where if you could do the job you deserved the job, vanished under the assault of diversity.
Even more, we saw the effect of diversity on social trust. If you have a neighborhood where everyone is from the same background, everyone knows what they should be doing, how to behave, and what will be rewarded. If you bring in even a few people from a different background, this goes away; even if those people “assimilate,” your group becomes self-conscious in a sense of self-censoring, lest they offend someone by using the wrong folk phrase or failing to include someone in their list of positives. We went from a society where people unconsciously did the right thing to one where people were afraid to act, and therefore just walled themselves up in their suburbs and gated communities and stopped caring about what happened to the world.
We were told that ideology was enough to unite us, and we could stand behind that WW2 propaganda about freedom, equality, civil rights, diversity, and economic opportunity. That would hold us together even though we had nothing in common.
The old-timers balked, of course. How could we have unity, when many of the groups from which our new citizens came actively hated us? They walked among us and we had no way of knowing what they were plotting. But you could not say this, of course, in nu-Amerika. The people who got ahead were the ones who enthusiastically agreed that “diversity is our strength” and endorsed the rest of what had worked for the decades since the Civil War, basically a combination of patriotism, democracy, diversity, equality, and consumerism. It was the perfect Left-Right hybrid: it kept only what made people into good little worker droids who paid taxes and waved that flag while at night smoking weed, having group sex, and otherwise being degenerate, which made them even more dependent on their jobs and the ideology of tolerance of all behavior and origins. The French Revolution could only dream of such a perfect implement for class warfare, or the erosion of distinction between good and bad within our group so that no hierarchy of natural competence could exist, and therefore no one could be found to be lesser because of their behavior.
Nonetheless, we surged forward. G.W. Bush came from the school of post-Reagan conservatives like his father who sought not to fight the Left, but to treat Left and Right as different departments in a large company. They wanted compromise, bipartisanship, and mutuality, which basically merged Republicans and Democrats into the uniparty. The Uniparty wanted civil rights, equality, and democracy, but its Republican division also wanted to protect business and defense, while its Democrat division was in charge of entitlements and immigration. To the middle class middle managers who now ran America, this seemed like a Good Idea at the time.
Then came 9/11. Bin Laden demolished the World Trade Center, but what he really destroyed was the myth of America. Suddenly, people were attacking Sikhs and Mexicans because they mistook them for Muslims; suddenly, minority groups were speaking out in favor of al-Qaeda. Even more, the response was not the WW2-era massive mobilization that we expected, but a private army of those who wanted the G.I. Bill, alongside mercenaries, attacking foreign lands in what almost immediately became a police action and occupation so that we could separate the sheep from the wolves, much like we were trying to do here.
9/11 stung because the terrorists had walked among us, as the old-timers warned, taking classes on how to take off in planes but not land, going to our strip clubs, and using our social benefits. We could not spot them because they were invisible in a sea of brown, yellow, black, red, tan, grey, and white faces. Clinton’s America could not do what we had done in the world wars. Instead, it could only apply the mall model: increase the number of security guards.
From 9/11, we got the Patriot Act, and that spawned a series of monitoring programs designed to keep our diversity from self-destructing. It turns out that an ideology of “agree to disagree” is not enough to keep a nation together, so you have to spy on your (diverse) citizenry in order to keep them from blowing up the place. We have continued in this course ever since.
The years after the WTC attacks showed us that there are two general directions in society. You can accept inequality, which means that you are a society which depends on excellent people of genius and noble moral ability to rule you, or you can go with the Asiatic method, bureaucracy, where you rely on having lots of rules, punishments, and incentives to keep lots of equal selfish and blockheaded monkeys doing The Right Thing™ at all times.
“We are a government of laws, not men,” bragged some in American history, but as it turns out, that works at first and then starts to fail. Governments of laws like obedient little conformist robots, and those tend to be incompetent at anything but what they recognize from indoctrination/education and past precedent, so you get people who repeat bad policy until it fails catastrophically. Bill Clinton might serve as the archetype of these, always knowing the right thing to say and carefully poring over Excel spreadsheets to see what voters support in order to know what his opinions should be. They succeed at the system, but not at the task. As it turns out, you either support the system or the civilization, and if the latter, you are in conflict with the system because it wants safe eternal wars against perpetual “problems” like drugs, racism, poverty, and smoking in bed, not to tackle those big issues where it might fail. If you fight a problem that will never end, like poverty, you will never win but you will also never lose, which means you can go back next year and demand an even bigger budget for the futile, victoryless pyrhhic occupation you are waging against your own citizens.
We need unity not unison, quality not quantity, genius not obedience. Unity means that we work together toward the same goal; unison means that we all do the same thing at the same time and claim that this has achieved the goal of equality and unison itself. Quality means that we have a hierarchy where the best rise and worst fall, sort of like in nature with natural selection; quantity means that we take anyone, stamp them with the right education/indoctrination, manipulate them with rewards and punishments, and hope for the best result. Genius means that some people see into the core of an issue and do great things with their creative responses; obedience means that we defer to precedent, ideology, and popularity just as Bill Clinton did, and when we worry about results, pour ourselves another drink so that the worrying goes away.
America wrecked itself after the Cold War by not fighting its Leftists at home because it was so focused on defeating them in the Soviet Union. Much of our fear of Muslims or Jews has to do with the fact that, metaphorically, the enemy came here and set up shop among us at the very moment that we struck it down overseas. The Manchurian Candidate was more prophetic than people thought, except that it did not require those brainwashed by Communist Chinese to wreck us, only those who brainwashed themselves at home in the great anti-Reagan hugbox that the Left cooked up in the 1980s.
Osama bin Laden crashed a few planes into buildings in such a way that our stock market cratered, but our response to the attack revealed that America was not a nation any more. It was a giant shopping mall with a welfare system that allowed people to keep buying junk so that our Potemkin economy and its circular Ponzi scheme could keep going. It had nothing holding it together except money, threats, and fear of being excluded. That was the real tragedy of 9/11, even if it happened a decade before.