9-11 Conspiracies

I wish to give my $0.02 on my take of the 9-11 tragedy. First of all, there are indeed a lot of questions regarding the tragedy, all legitimate. Such as: the buildings collapsing demolition-style on their foundations, a rare event, in fact an event which has never happened historically with any burning skyscraper. Unless it’s being deliberately demolished. Who would want to demolish the skyscrapers? Who would gain from such demolition? No one has a clear answer, although I feel that the buildings could not have burned in that way, and buildings 1, 2, and 7 all have coincidentally fallen in the same manner, falling straight down as they did on their foundations. It would seem to defy probability, as well as physics.

But was the Government in on it? Could any government seriously keep a secret on something involving thousands of emergency response personnel and many more in the armed forces? Not to mention the CIA (CIA personnel had offices in Building 7), and other branches of government? Anyone remember the conspiracy headed by Nixon into Watergate? How long was that a secret?

But if we simply look at what is obvious, we see things that ought to alarm us. Governments around the world, including the United States government and the Canadian government, have used the spectre of terrorism to scare us into having our rights taken away on many other things, not all having to do with terror. Our police forces which are equipped to fight crime, not terror, have been funded to the hilt and expanded at a time buy viagra over seas trusted international pharmacy when crime is at the lowest it has been in decades. Should we really be afraid that the next 7-11 bandit could be a terrorist as well?

I don’t think that the Bush government of the day had the skill or competence to pull off a 9-11. What we all must agree to, however, is that they knew how to exploit the opportunity to take away the rights of its citizens, and detain them without warrant or trial. This is a violation of  habeas corpus, a law which is as old as 13th century England. It is a law that protects a person from arbitrary detention by the state. Violate that law, and you have Gitmo in a nutshell.

Keep your eye on the ball, and let’s not get ourselves distracted with the niggly details of 9-11 physics and any associated conspiracy theory, no matter how much that keeps us up at night thinking. The taking away of your rights is more obvious than any falling building. In the end, your rights are what matter more than the event of almost 10 years ago.

In addition, I would also like to add that while we may easily dismiss the “government” conspiracy theory for 9-11, this does not allow us to say that “conspiracy theories” should always be suspect. For that matter, if we say we are against conspiracy theories, then we should be against saying that the “Al-Q’aeda did it”, since that is a conspiracy theory too.

The origin of the phrase "silent majority"

This phrase was made popular by Richard Nixon around 1968 when he attempted to discredit Vietnam war protestors as a group of vocal fringe elements, while he was secretly escalating the war into Cambodia. “The silent majority”, it was supposed by Nixon, still supported the US involvement in Vietnam.

It must be admitted, that 40 years later, the phrase still resonates with us. But as clever and smart as Nixon was, he did not come up with it himself; the phrase actually had its origins in classical literature. It was used to describe dead people. So, surely that must mean that in Nixon’s democracy, we should always respect the opionions of the dead, since there will always be more of them than of us. This need to respect their opinions is made more urgent by the fact that dead people cannot speak for themselves, and thus have no voice of their own in our political discourse. In addition, most of them are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes.

In recent elections, however, dead people have in fact lent their weight to various political parties by voting in several recent elections in several states in the US. Dead people have also run for political office, and one of them won an election in a race against John Ashcroft. In America, dead people are full participants in the democratic process, benefitting both Democrats and Republicans.

Surely, Nixon’s phrase has resonance, not in the apologetic, hawkish, warmongering sense, but in the originally intended sense, backed by over 1000 years of classical European literature.  I think Nixon really was referring to dead people, and he may have even been invoking the spirit world.

What is the true origin of that phrase? I was itching to find out.

At first, I thought “silent majority” must have originated from Dante’s Inferno, where would likely have used it to describe the dead. It turned out to be too juicy a fact to be true. He doesn’t use the phrase.

Phrases close to this have been pointed out a few years ago by the late classical scholar James B. Butrica, who quoted several writers, including the ancient Roman writer Petronius (AD 27-66): “Abiit ad plures” or, “S/He’s gone to the majority”, a fancy way of saying “S/He’s dead”. Butrica says that the same phrase was also used some 200 years earlier by Roman writer Plautus (circa 254–184 BCE).

At any rate, all I have to say is: one man, one death. It wouldn’t be terribly democratic if one man had two deaths. And also, I believe quite strongly that if you vote when you are alive, then if you die right after you leave the polling station, then you shouldn’t be allowed to come back and vote again as a dead person before the polls close.

In closing, I must say that the constant invocation of “the silent majority” over the years whenever most discourse opposes what a politician does, is a fallacy. We only have one way to read “silent majority” (I’m talking about the living this time), which is to say that if you don’t speak up, it is because it (whatever “it” is) doesn’t arouse your passions, and thus you don’t care. If the majority of voters decide not to vote, for example (as is too sadly the case most of the time), then their silence is not seen as a vote for anyone, and their non-votes are never counted. A politician cannot “listen” to the silent majority, because there is nothing for them to hear.