“Courage is grace under pressure.” — Ernest Hemingway
Terrorists aim to cause fear, and by feeling fear we've given them what they want.
We believe it's possible to win the war on terror instantly. All we have to do is stop being afraid, and stop acting out of fear.
This makes sense not only in terms of defeating the terrorists' intentions, but also in terms of managing the terrorist threat.
To us, America's fear of terrorism is like a cat being afraid of a mouse. Actually, it's worse than that, because all the terrorists in all the world amount to no more than an anemic mosquito on the snout of a whale. The fact is . . .
We're in far more danger from our own cars than we are from terrorism.
Nearly 800,000 people have died in car accidents in the last twenty years. During that time there have been exactly two Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, with less than 3,000 total fatalities. That's more than 200 TIMES as many Americans dying in their cars as at the hands of Islamic terrorism. And yet . . .
We've turned the whole world upside down in response to the two terrorist attacks. We've launched invasions, created vast new bureaucracies, shredded the Bill of Rights, compounded regulations, spent hundreds of billions of dollars, and disrupted travel and commerce. But no one is suggesting that we do 200 times as much to address the driving risk, which is 200 times greater.
Can we conclude from this that Americans are brave when it comes to their cars, but cowardly when it comes to Islamic terrorism?
We think the proper conclusion is that Americans have VASTLY OVERREACTED to the threat of Islamic terrorism, and that the politicians have encouraged and exploited this overreaction to expand the power of government.
If Ernest Hemingway had the right definition of courage — “grace under pressure” — then our country has shown little grace in the face of not much pressure. To us, the official government “War on Terror” amounts to one giant national cringe.
We can do better, with less effort and more grace.
There is really only one way to win a war on terrorism. Stop being afraid!
Achieving this victory does not require large armies, invasions, illegal spying, torture, detention camps, Kangaroo courts, or multi-billion dollar Congressional appropriations. Neither does it require us to shred the Bill of Rights or the Geneva Conventions. All it requires is a little backbone. And a little common sense.
The minute the first politician proposed the first imposition on the Bill of Rights, or the first call to invade Iraq, or the first request for large new bureaucracies to fight the anemic mosquito, the terrorists won, and we lost.
And they've been winning, and we've been losing, ever since.
Can we stop being afraid?
Here's what it means to not be afraid, here's what it means to fight a real war on terror, and here's what it means to win that war, instantly . . .
- It means that you do not participate in the public hysteria when terrorists attack, but instead react proportionally, placing the terrorist act in its proper place in the vast scheme of crimes, accidents, disease, natural disaster, and generic tragedy that is man's lot on earth.
- It means that you do not permit the politicians to feel terror on your behalf. It means that you discourage them from fomenting and exploiting hysteria to expand their own power at the expense of traditional American principles.
- It means that you view terrorism as a matter for international police work, under the rule of law, and not a justification for bloated government programs, reckless wars, or the shredding of the Bill of Rights.
- It means that you recruit others to adopt your war winning strategy of not being afraid.
The biggest obstacle to implementing this strategy is the politicians, for two interlocking reasons . . .
- First, the politicians are afraid of public opinion. They're scared to look weak and uncaring by not doing something big and noticeable to fight terrorism, no matter how overblown or counterproductive.
- Second, they love the opportunity to exploit public fear to expand their own power and importance.
There is one solution to these two problems. Tell Congress that you've already won your war on terror, and that you've done so by not being afraid. Use the form below to send Congress the following message:
“I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.”
You can add to this any additional points you would like to make in your own words, criticizing one or more elements of the official government war on terror.
Next, you can take a step to deal with the underlying problem that enables politicians to work their mischief: public hysteria. We need to recruit massive numbers of Americans to win the war on terror instantly, through our “I am not afraid” campaign. After you've sent your message to Congress, please tell other people about our “I am not afraid” campaign using our Tell-a-Friend mechanism.
Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy!
- Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,
- Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,
- May be passed up the chain of command,
- May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at Comments@DownsizeDC.org.