Paul Krugman ingnited a minor firestorm yesterday when he told the truth about what also happened on 9/11: the shameless and opportunistic symbolic hijacking of the event for political power.
With his New York Times op-ed piece “The Years of Shame,” Paul Krugman said what many on the Left consciously acknowledge and those on the Right know deep in their hearts: 9/11 was a symbolic hijacking not just by 19 terrorists but men such as George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Cheney and Bernie Kerik.
Granted, they all most likely cared about the pain and horror of that day (it’s not likely they are total political automatons), but they also knew at some point—probably immediately after—that it was a political variant of a public relations goldmine.
Nothing about Krugman’s sentiment and expression, of course, is actually news—at least not to those who’ve thought critically in the last 10 years. Many commentators, both in the press and at the arm chair, observed a political hijacking occuring once the hysteria had waned—only Republicans could defend the realm. Krugman merely attracted attention because he was keen enough to vocalize it on a date that is hallowed ground for many Americans.
Someone needs to speak the truth even if none are willing to hear it—those unwilling to listen let emotions subvert their logic.
“But on 9/11,” you might say? Yes, indeed. And why not? Are we to suffer the tyranny of when people believe it is right and wrong to express opinion? Opinion isn’t always convenient—and in a democracy and (ostensibly) a free society, doubly so. Emotions create the hallowed ground, not the event.
I don’t always find myself in total agreement with Krugman on matters economic—that a man of his intellectual caliber (economically-speaking) doesn’t tell the truth about the fact that American (and all nations) can’t sustain GDP growth, high employment and our current standard of living on a planet with finite resources. We can’t flaunt the laws of thermodynamics; specifically, a little thing called entropy, or heat death, which states that an isolated system tends toward disorder over time.
I wish he could speak truth regarding this future reality; alas, he refuses (so far).
As regards the symbolic hijacking of 9/11, however, Krugman is right on.