Bruce Scheier’s excellent and timely essay is here. Excellent because he really nails the problem that our human cognitive capabilities are not particularly up to accessing the probability of Black Swan events, and timely because of the impending anniversary of events that played out here and in New York twelve years ago.
The new normal….
It’s eleven years after that crisp Fall day when fear suddenly became part of of the American psyche. This morning, on the eve of the anniversary, the weather is eerily similar to that morning. But after a decade, there is a new normal to living inside the Washington Beltway. The startle response that used to accompany an unexpected low-flying aircraft in one’s peripheral vison is largely gone. The armed camp atmospherics around the Pentagon are a thing of the past. The jersey barriers have become bollards or planters. While the giant flags are out this morning covering Rossyln’s high-rise tower blocks, they aren’t a ubiquitous feature of our town anymore.
Even in New York, the skyline has become rebalanced with the topping-out of WTC 1 down by the Battery.
In short, the national trauma of 9/11 has eased and the country is in the process of turning the page. The current worries of fiscal cliff, national debt and dysfunctional politics are of an altogether different character from the affliction that began early in the previous decade. So perhaps this is…the new normal.
It couldn’t be more welcome.
Leon Wieseltier on 9/11
He’s the literary editor of The New Republic. His remarks are here. They seem appropriate to the anniversary we observed yesterday here in Washington.
Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan