Okay, this is just bizarre. The arti­cle is based on the annu­al “Pat­terns of Glob­al Ter­ror­ism” report. Isn’t it iron­ic that a gov­ern­ment that claims to be the bas­tion of free­dom across the globe is crit­i­cis­ing anoth­er gov­ern­ment for not clamp­ing down on civ­il lib­er­ties? Per­haps they should invade Cana­da, just as they have done with their neigh­bours to the south on so many occa­sions?

The arti­cle was recent­ly cov­ered in Slash­dot, and there were some inter­est­ing respons­es. Two of my favourites:

I’ve heard it explained many times, that the rea­son why Amer­i­ca is tar­get­ed by ter­ror­ists is that “cer­tain ele­ments” are sim­ply jeal­ous of our out­stand­ing qual­i­ty of life. They want to destroy what they can’t build for them­selves.

If you’re right about Cana­da — what, with all the pot smok­ing, low crime rates, free health­care, and civ­il lib­er­ties — I would expect Cana­da to rise to the top of the ter­ror­ists’ hit list. So, maybe instead of try­ing to get the damned Cana­di­ans to coop­er­ate with us, we should sim­ply launch an adver­tis­ing cam­paign in the Islam­ic world explain­ing that Cana­da is the more log­i­cal tar­get for their anti-west­ern fringe ele­ment.

and

Bush claimed short­ly after 9/11 that we were attacked because they hate us because of our free­doms.

So what a great way to pre­vent a future ter­ror­ist attack. Remove those free­doms so they (the­o­ret­i­cal­ly) have no rea­son to hate us any­more.

What makes these inter­est­ing is that while being fun­ny, they are at least part­ly ground­ed in truth. The argu­ment that ter­ror­ists attack the US because they are “jeal­ous of the Amer­i­can way of life” is incred­i­bly nar­row-mind­ed and arro­gant. These peo­ple have a dif­fer­ent belief sys­tem entire­ly; there is far more to this world than raw cap­i­tal­ism and mate­ri­al­ism. What’s more, on most holis­tic mea­sures of qual­i­ty of life (which includes impor­tant non-mon­e­tary fac­tors like health, edu­ca­tion, pol­lu­tion and polit­i­cal free­dom), the US ranks quite low com­pared to many oth­er nations. If I want­ed to attack a coun­try because I was jeal­ous of their way of life, I’d be send­ing anthrax to Swe­den or Den­mark.

Per­son­al free­dom has dimin­ished marked­ly in the US, and unfor­tu­nate­ly this has cre­at­ed some­what of a domi­no effect into oth­er states. The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment, while not being near­ly as unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic as that in the US, is a case in point. It was revealed last year that Aus­tralians are 20 times as like­ly to have their phone calls tapped by author­i­ties than US cit­i­zens. How­ev­er, I’m opti­mistic that we won’t see any­thing along the lines of the Office of Home­land Secu­ri­ty over here. I am more con­cerned about Ech­e­lon (more info), which seems to fit in well with the ele­vat­ed occur­rance of wire tap­ping in both the USA and Aus­tralia.

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