Our Post-9/11 Tyranny and Oppression

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One of the positive aspects of my work here at The Future of Freedom Foundation has always been reading the correspondence I receive in response to the articles we publish. Yesterday, I received an email from a reader in response to my article “Flying Pre-9/11” that I thought I would share with you all. 

What struck me most about the email was how the writer’s father was able to recognize the enormity of the post-9/11 change in our country and how he was unwilling to subject himself to the resulting tyranny and oppression at airports at the hands of our government, even at the cost of abandoning his passion in life.

One of my favorite quotations is by Alexis de Tocqueville. It expresses perfectly the plight of the American people, especially post-9/11:

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”Alexis de Tocqueville

My very favorite quotation, one that also perfectly captures the plight of the American people is: “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”–Johann von Goethe.



My late father had a full career in aviation.  Always as a pilot.  First, for 23-years in the U S. Air Force (starting when it was the U. S. Army Air Corps) from 1941 to 1964.  Next, for 17-years with the then world’s largest airline, United Air Lines (yes, that’s how they spelled it in 1964).

After he mandatorily stopped flying in 1981, he never formally worked again (but he did volunteer for a charity sometimes).  He had saved his money & invested well.  It was all golf & traveling thereafter.  He also never wore a watch again.

Post 9-11, I was disheartened to learn that he was doing everything he could to avoid flying commercially, despite having bountiful discount travel privileges on United and other carriers around the world with reciprocal agreements for employees.  His universe in retirement shrunk considerably, his inclination to “get in the air” evaporated.

(He didn’t, thankfully, become a hermit; he and his second wife dealt with being earth bound by purchasing a luxurious motorhome and traveling every summer for months at a time across the U. S. & Canada.)

It wasn’t that he was now afraid to fly because of the widely trumpeted spectre of terrorism, it was because of the joyless, oppressive atmosphere that now pervaded the experience, robbing him of a simple joy he had long been accustomed to.

In 2009 & 2010 I encouraged him mightily to combine his well earned free time, his passion for golf, and his annual golfing rendezvous with an old Air Force buddy (from a tour in West Germany in the 1950s, when I was born) who had later joined him at United at its Denver base (where growing up, I occasionally played golf with the both of them), into one big, special experience:  let these recently made bachelors go to the UK, rent a car, travel the country, and stop and play golf at the great ancient courses that originated the game and that now host the British Open golf tournament in an annual rotation amongst them.  He didn’t even seriously consider it.  There was to be no more flying unless it was absolutely essential.

As a young teen in Milwaukee in the 1930s he had fallen head-over-heels for flying when he went to a “barnstorming” show.  After the aerobatic performances the pilot would then sell tickets to anyone who wanted to have a ride up in the “blue”.  The pilot had apparently noticed that my father visited many times, and was always intensely attentive.  One day, shortly before the show packed up and left town, he asked my father if he wanted to have a ride, too.  My father confessed that he didn’t have the money (he worked three jobs helping his family stay afloat during the Depression).  The pilot told him that if my father would help him clean up & service the aircraft the next day, he would give him a ride for free.  I imagine you can figure out the rest, Jacob.

The start of his own chosen life’s journey began there.  And it coursed through skies from Michigan to India, Texas to England, Kansas to Japan, Tennessee (where he met my mother) to Alaska, the Soviet Union to South Africa, and seemingly unlimited points in-between.  And it ended with that passionate connection severed prematurely.  He died in late 2018.

So many people in our country, in so many ways — many too young to know differently — live a fraught, diminished existence under our government-imposed response to 9-11.  More and more, it all feels like a curse.

Thanks for sharing that post to your blog.  It truly touched me — transporting me back once again to my own pre-911 adventures in air travel.

My apologies if my missive here was too long an interruption to your daily tasks.

Best wishes.


The post Our Post-9/11 Tyranny and Oppression appeared first on The Future of Freedom Foundation.

* This article was originally published here


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