Is Accepting Terrorism Necessary to Preserve Democracy?
The expansion of the security state has been justified by the fear of Islamic terrorism. We’re now learning that the government has built relationships with major tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple in order to mine data on their users. When, and where does this end? David Foster Wallace asked back in 2007:
In other words, what if we decided that a certain baseline vulnerability to terrorism is part of the price of the American idea? And, thus, that ours is a generation of Americans called to make great sacrifices in order to preserve our democratic way of life—sacrifices not just of our soldiers and money but of our personal safety and comfort?
In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?