Friday, April 02, 2004

Never Relent: A Tale of Libertarian Dissent

I'm a heretic from libertarian orthodoxy on two major issues: immigration (which I'd tighten considerably) and pre-emptive war (which I favor). I'm also willing to give law-enforcement agencies the benefit of the doubt when it comes to snooping in search of terrorist conspiracies.

I'm still a staunch libertarian on most other issues, but when it comes to terrorists, I say keep them out (or as many as we can), kill as many as possible before they get here, and if they get here, catch them before they kill us. I don't want my murder to be avenged by justice or retribution, I want to fully enjoy my golden years in the sunshine. I want the same for my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and all my progeny.

When my wife and I turned on our TV set that morning of 9/11/01, the first plane had just struck the World Trade Center. A few minutes later we saw the second plane strike. In that instant a horrible accident became an obvious act of terror. Then, in the awful silence that had fallen over Arlington, Virginia, we could hear the "whump" as the third plane hit the Pentagon.

Our thoughts for the next several hours were with our daughter, whom we knew was at work in the adjacent World Financial Center when the planes struck. Was her office struck by debris? Did she flee her building only to be struck by or trapped in debris? Was she smothered in the huge cloud of dust? Because telephone communications were badly disrupted, we didn't learn for several hours that she had made it home safely.

Thousands of grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, lovers, and good friends -- the survivors of the 3,000 who died that day in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and western Pennsylvania -- did not share our good fortune. Never forgive, never forget, never relent.