The point of terrorism is not to “destroy.” It is to terrify
. And for eight and a half years now, the dominant federal government response to terrorist threats and attacks has been to magnify their harm by increasing a mood of fear and intimidation. That is the real case against the ludicrous “orange threat level” announcements we hear every three minutes at the airport. It’s not just that they’re pointless, uninformative, and insulting to our collective intelligence; it’s that their larger effect is to make people feel frightened rather than brave.
I won’t go into the arguments about whether creation of an ever-threatened public mood is deliberate, or what interests it serves. I’ll just say: it works against larger American interests (as argued here), and New York in these past two days has shown the alternative. That is nothing more than: being alert, but living your life and not skulking around terrified.
— read the full (and excellent) article from James Fallows. (thx @southpol)
3 May 2010