Logic vs. Emotion Dealing with 9/11
- 14 September 2008 by Author 0 Comments
Logic vs. Emotion Dealing with 9/11
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 09/14/08
An ideological dichotomy shapes the political landscape in America. On one hand, we have the “feelers.” They are the ones who employ emotions as the primary determinant in how they stand on issues. Whether it’s illegal immigration, national security, Social Security, or the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, all information is funneled through their “emotion filters” to determine their position on issues.
On the other hand, we have what I would call the “realists.” They are the ones who think through issues and employ a logical process to determine their position on issues. While emotion may have an impact on the deductive process, cognition is the primary factor in defining their stance.
A column earlier this week typified this dichotomy while discussing the national commemoration of the horrific attacks of 9/11. Jodean Albright asserted that we are a divided nation because we haven’t “healed” from the impact of the 9/11 attacks, and that we need to reconcile our emotions of anger over those attacks in order to heal as a nation and be unified. She utilized the emotive words of feel, feelings, heal, and emotion 17 times.
For those of us who strive to look at issues based on logic rather than emotion, 9/11 was indeed a heinous attack upon the country. We were initially motivated in large part by emotion, as we were angry for the attack here on our own soil, and sought swift retribution against those who planned and implemented them. We grieved over the loss of life and still grieve for families and loved ones who suffered such a violent and unwarranted loss on that day. But emotion is far from being the primary motivator in our perspective on the ongoing war on terror that the columnist ascribed to us.
Logic and reason dictate that threats against American interests and lives still exist. The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is still on the lam, hiding out in some cave somewhere presumably, and other nefarious agents of destruction and terror still exist in the world. In a poll conducted last year 30% of Muslim youth living in America believe it’s acceptable to kill innocents in order to advance a cause. While the vast majority of Muslims worldwide are not inclined to violence, it’s believed that as many as 10% subscribe to the extremist Wahabi sect ideals that calls for killing or conversion of all infidels. If you want to do the math, that’s over 120 million people globally who are potentially of a terrorist mindset.
Those of us who approach this logically are driven more by the awareness of reality rather than emotion, and recognize that the threat still exists for more loss of innocent life and horrendous destruction of American interests, at home and abroad. In this context, commemoration of the attacks of 9/11 serves as a reminder of that existential threat and serves to strengthen our resolve to be vigilant in protecting our country and its citizens. It is not, as proffered by Ms. Albright, a rallying point to keep us all angry and stirred up impeding a healing process to just “get over it.” To her, and others who see the world through spectacles of an emotional hue, the war on terror is based on emotions of vengeance and retribution for those attacks, and we just need to work daily on “healing” in order to unify as a country.
The logical process for those of us who see things through the lens of reality, can be summed up very simply. We were attacked. It may have been preventable. The threat of additional attacks still exists. Therefore, we must be vigilant to prevent additional attacks. In forming this postulate there is no reference to emotion. No revenge, no retribution, and no vengeance. In short, it’s not a matter of “getting over it” and allowing the nation to “heal” over the attacks of 9/11. Rather, we need to be mindful that the threat is still out there and we need to be proactive to successfully vanquish that threat.
A year after the attacks of 9/11, Frank Rich, of the New York Times observed that since major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12-24 months, we would know soon enough if Bush was doing his job. Well, Frank, we’ve not been attacked since. I, for one, could not have envisioned going 7 years without another major attack. Fox News provides a list on their website of 20 known terrorist attacks prevented since 9/11/01.
To cite a common aphorism, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While disconcerting to some, the legislative and executive provisions implemented by Congress and the President over the past few years have undoubtedly had a positive affect on prevention of additional attacks. To me, at least, that’s worth far more than the “pounds” of healing called for by some.
As President Bush has said, the terrorists only have to be right one time, but we have to be right 100% of the time. Perhaps Bush’s success in protecting us for the past 7 years has already led to an attitude of complacency and blissful ignorance about the threat that still exists, which will only be exacerbated if Iran successfully develops their nuclear program.
As long as the threat of terrorism against America exists, we should keep the memory of 9/11 alive and well. It serves to strengthen our resolve to not allow another such attack. What some ascribe to “fear,” I attribute to logic, wisdom, and prevention.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.