Both the 9/11 attacks and the Covid-19 pandemic have dramatically shaped Western society. But the changes they wrought were devastating and unnecessary, pushed through by control-hungry governments who saw opportunity in crisis.
While both the worst terror attack in US history and the deadliest pandemic in a generation were immediately hyped as the defining elements of the era, the uncomfortable reality is that neither terrorism nor the novel coronavirus pose any risk more severe than taking a bath.
However, the media hype – fueled by think tanks and governments drooling over the possibility of adopting controls that would normally spark popular revolt – has created the same climate of fear that allowed the imposition of the post-9/11 police state, paving the way for a post-Covid regime that will make the Patriot Act look cuddly.
The shocking changes to the American “way of life” that have followed both events were in no way required, or even logical, responses to the crises in question. It took an unlikely series of what the government described as “intelligence failures” for the events of 9/11 to fall into place, and the Trump administration scrapped completely adequate pandemic response plans to adopt a regime of lockdowns and economic shutdowns that will likely end up doing more harm than the virus itself. Had governments followed their own procedures, neither catastrophe likely would have happened.