Excellent rant from Gene Healy:
I, like Rudy Giuliani, was a 9/11 survivor. And I use that term in the sense that Giuliani does, which means I was sort of near stuff that was going on—across the Potomac from the Pentagon(!)—and I didn't cry, so therefore you should think of me as an American Hero and elect me president.
Anyway, I remember what I thought and how I felt. I felt sick and I felt angry and I felt anxious. But I never for a second thought that anything good was going to come out of this, and the idea that this would be a great unifying moment, a clarifying moment, a moment that would allow us all to fight the Great Patriotic War Against Medieval Retards in Caves without which our lives were vacant and shallow–well, I have to say, that idea never once occurred to me. And though I am generally self-righteous only about my utter lack of self-righteousness, I feel pretty goddamned self righteous that it didn't.
It's the idea that we're all better off engaged in a grand ideological crusade, collecting ration cards, saving bacon grease and scrap metal, and dutifully attending War on Terror bond rallies. We're all called to different tasks in this crusade. Some of us take point in Sadr City. Some of us cheer them on in the Weekly Standard. But they also serve who only sit and write op-eds.
The notion that our lives lack meaning unless the collective unites us all in service of a higher calling and that mass murder can provide that happy occasion is as old and atavistic as the first cave painting. It's also as natural, human, and evil as all the faults to which flesh is heir.