Fearless Dream

reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

9/11, Sixteen Years On

It’s a somewhat different world than it was a year ago. I don’t yet know whether to judge it a much better one.

For all his faults, we now have a president in the U.S. who has had the audacity to candidly name the ideology we are up against — and what is remarkable to me is that doing so takes any audacity at all. Such is the deep denial we’ve slumped into these past 16 years, that anyone finds shocking what should be a foundational part of our shared understanding, whatever our differences may be regarding how best to face and defeat that threat. Had anyone suggested to me in the days following 9/11 that this level of denial would come to exist, or stranger still that it would come from forces within our own culture, I’d have been stunned by the insanity of the thought.

Whether our actions now and in the next few years will produce greater success as a result of leadership that will honestly name our enemy’s motivating ideology has yet to be seen. I have not been generally optimistic about our degree of cultural resolve, which I think is what we need most. The forces of civilizational decline are entrenched and persistent, and this might be but a temporary reversal of a much stronger tide. I still hold out some hope for a genuine and lasting turnaround. But I don’t know what it’s going to take to truly wake us up and get us on our feet and fighting for our future with the strong conviction that will be essential to victory. Europe has experienced numerous grisly Jihadist attacks in recent years, and hardly seems to have deviated from a course of submission, surrender, decline, and suicide. We are witnessing what happens when a culture that believes fanatically in itself comes into contact with a culture hobbled by self-doubt.

For our future to differ, our thoughts and actions must differ. If we can’t start by having the honest, fact-based conversation about radical Islamic violence that Sunni Muslim Raheel Raza calls for in this video, we will lack even the hope of turning things around. I look forward to the candor of our public discussion improving someday.

My Previous Years’ 9/11 Posts

2016: 9/11, Fifteen Years On

2015: 9/11, Fourteen Years On ~ Fourteen Years Later: 9/11 Links

2014: 9/11, Thirteen Years On

2013: 9/11, Twelve Years On

2012: 9/11, Eleven Years On

2011: A Plea, Ten Years After: Please, Open Your Eyes ~ Ten Years Later: 9/11 Links

2010: 9/11: Two Songs

2009: Tomorrow is 9/11 ~ My Experience of September 11, 2001 ~ 9/11 Quotes

2008: 9/11, Seven Years On ~ 9/11, Seven Years On, Part 2 ~ 102 Minutes that Changed America

2007: 9/11, Six Years On

2006: Soon, Time Again to Reflect ~ 9/11 Observances ~ 9/11 Observances, Part 2

2005: I Remember

2004: Remembering and Rebuilding (republished here September 12th, 2014)

What’s Next?

It’s been on my mind to do some more writing and podcasting — a thought that has me pondering both the content I want to get down in words, and the potential purpose of completing and publishing that work. I’ve gained a lot of valuable and life-improving perspective in recent years, that I think could be of help to others who may be journeying down similar paths. It interests me to distill my observations — partly for my own use in developing my thinking further, but I also wonder to what extent it may be a worthwhile endeavor to publish the results, either here or elsewhere.

With time being in short supply relative to my many projects, I'm driven to weigh the value of this endeavor as realistically as I can. To what extent will it matter? I think of all the superb writing that's already out there on the subjects that preoccupy me, by writers whose wonderfully articulate insight both inspires and humbles me (see my links page for some of my favorites), and I have to wonder whether the most useful thing I can do is direct people to their work. Twitter is an apt and effective tool for that, and a substantial part of my use of it (as well as this blog) has been for that purpose. Where others have said with great clarity of thought what I have lacked the talent and time to articulate, it makes every bit of sense to direct people to their articles, podcast episodes, and videos with due enthusiasm.

Time is in understandably short supply for potential readers, too. In a world where Twitter's brevity connects people with ideas, and with one another, with undeniable effectiveness, I make the time to read my own favorite writers far less often than I'd like to. What are the chances that others will find the time to read my own humble work, or can be reasonably expected to? At the point of that thought, I fall back on the knowledge that putting my thoughts together in writing is of great benefit to me, independent of how many or few others may read or benefit from the results. But if I'm going to take the time to craft work that I'm happy enough with to publish, and because I harbor hope of helping others and building friendships with people on similar journeys, I feel driven to figure out what I can do that would be most effective and worthwhile.

They say to write about what you know, and maybe therein lies the answer. More specifically, I think I need to figure out what I can contribute that's relatively unique — what's a novel result of my own perspective that might not be found elsewhere. My thinking about the frontier cycle and the development of new frontiers seems likely to be part of that, and I may redouble my focus on that pursuit both here and on the No Fear Pioneer podcast. I'll be interested to see where that goes, and I hope others will find some value in the results of these pursuits too.

As always, I'm figuring it out as I go…

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