On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, I feel compelled to explain why America was attacked then, and why it is still being attacked today.
While the United States of America is unique structurally – a constitution that establishes the individual as superior to the state – America is not unique historically, at least in terms of why it was established. Most critics of America claim that it is simply an artifact of imperialism, that as the evil white Europeans explored the world in the interest of expanding their power and exploiting resources, America was discovered and developed into just another extension of that lust for power and wealth. This view is ignorant. Ignorant of the fact that for all of human history most of us have been subjected to the control and whims of a powerful few, a trend that continues today, and ignorant of the fact that for all of human history most of us have sought to escape the control of the powerful, many of us by risking everything to leave our current home and seek out a refuge, a place where we could simply live and let live, a place for freedom.
It just so happens that America is the last place to run.
Oh sure, America is a big place, and we could see some states secede, or we could simply buy some property and hope that no one ever notices us on our 5 acres. The world is a big place too. We could move to an island the Caribbean, or a hut in the Andes mountains. That would be yet another continuation of the ancient pattern of escaping the oppression and misery that inevitably follow the imposition of power. But in terms of millions of people migrating away from America and seeking refuge elsewhere? Not going to happen.
Consider the direction of refugee migration right now. Where are they going? America. Why? Because America is the only place for them to go. America is the last bastion of freedom, the last frontier, terrestrially anyway. If it was easy to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and arrive on the east coast of the United States, do you think anyone would be escaping to France or the United Kingdom? The ultimate escape is America. And that is why America is the hill.
For all of human history there has been somewhere else to go, some other land to find, some other place to escape to. That is gone. There is no other land to find or escape to be had.
That is why America was attacked in 2001, and why it is still under attack today. America represents the final escape from the tyranny of the mob, from the corruption of power, from the despotism of those who believe they have the right to rule. True to form, those who seek to rule over others seek to destroy freedom, which means they also seek to destroy any place of refuge for those who wish to be free. That place is America.
There is an old adage colloquially known as the hill to die on. It is generally understood as a point in a battle or war where one side’s combatants are nearing defeat and there is no option for retreat. In that moment there is an acceptance that death is likely and fighting is the only choice, so from a position of high ground, the final battle ensues. That is America today. The forces of deceit and power seem overwhelming. Freedom is on its heels. There are no more lands to discover, no ships to sail, no rockets to launch. This moment was not chosen, it was not welcomed, it was not planned for. But we are here.
America is the hill.