Seeing the world as it is
How do the 911 Conspiracists explain this?
Well, apparently a fire can weaken steel and cause a steel reinforced structure to collapse. And if a modest fire can collapse a small structure like this, imagine what a vastly larger fire could do to a vastly heavier structure. Of course there’s no need to imagine, everyone on the planet has seen the images of the twin towers collapsing. Will this change any minds in the so called “911 truth movement?” Nope. That’s the beautiful thing about being in possession of a holy truth, evidence is not relevant. This will no more change the position of the 911 conspiracy true believers than the discovery of Jesus’ grave would make Christians abandon Christianity. Still, if any 911 conspiracists are reading, I and many readers would be curious to hear why this fire isn’t evidence that fire can weaken steel and cause structures like the twin towers to collapse.
There are two other points regarding this traffic accident I would like to make. The first is the inevitable terrorist connection. Thank you Mr Bush, six years of terror mongering has so conditioned the American public that as soon as they hear something go bump in the night, they immediately start salivating like Pavlov’s dogs and scream “terrorism!” The talking heads now are breathlessly claiming that this exposes some sort of new and previously unknown vulnerability to terrorist attacks. Gee, using a gasoline tanker truck as a weapon never occurred to anyone? Modern peaceful industrialized societies have a infinite number of weak points an enemy can attack, it’s not news, and it can’t be fixed without turning the USA into a police state. If you spend all your time worrying about terrorism, go take a Valium.
Secondly, a huge deal is being made about the driver’s checkered past. Dear God, this was an accident. Is there anyone who doesn’t sometimes drive too fast? I have an idea, why don’t we make it so that people with criminal or drug problems in their past can’t drive and can’t be employed anywhere. Then they will have no choice but to re-offend when they get out of prison, we can lock them up again, and we will never have problems like this again. Sigh, this was a traffic accident. There is no global lesson to be learnt here other than “These things happen.” And I’m not saying we can’t learn from accidents, but there’s no need to leap to conclusions or advocate sweeping changes because a truck had an accident.
This is another fine example of something that has become much clearer to me. In the modern world every time there is some high profile event, special interests from governments to corporations to NGOs leap into action to capitalize on it and advocate policy changes they desire. This is because the media makes these events so much more universal, what used to be news from the other side of the continent, is now a shared reality that we all share vicariously. This has become so common that it basically drives much of our national policy, and has led to such things as the “wag the dog” phenomena.
Of course basing policies on isolated high profile events is stupid, but it’s sure made a lot of people and organizations rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams. Stupid because policies are more and more being based on the narrow self-serving agendas of the small powerful groups that control western countries, including much of the media now. And they are getting much better at this stuff, so our national policies are going to get ever more detached from reality as ever more money is spent on problems that have been blown all out of proportion, or don’t even exist. And of course this process makes it easy to ignore far more pervasive (and damaging) low profile problems like poverty and pollution.
Another way of looking at this “policy by incident” thinking is the Global War on Terror. If another terror attack takes place in the USA, it proves that the GWOT is the correct policy! And as long as no terror attacks take place, why this proves that the GWOT is working and is thus the correct policy! In other words, no matter what happens, the GWOT is the correct policy. A thinking person should be able to see that this is absurd, since any policy could be defended with this sort of argument, yet millions of Americans swallow this “logic” hook line and sinker. The threat of terrorism needs to be examined and dealt with in the context of a vast amount of historical, political, and social context, but policy driven by singular incidents erases the context.
Of course if basic logic were taught in the school systems, false arguments would be much harder to get people to swallow. I would speculate why it almost never is, but it’s too depressing. What I can do is suggest that people study this site: Logic & Fallacies
(The above image of the Oakland maze after the fire and collapse is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is central to illustrating the post, it has been scaled down, and it is not being used for profit. Credit: Chronicle/Mark Constantini)