The War on Terror Lumbers On

article top

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up himself and 277 other people on Flight 253 to Detroit Christmas Day. Fellow passengers subdued and disarmed him.

Lessons? Start with the obvious: There are still terrorists in other countries who want to hurt us.


Some will say that we must beef up security. But consider: America’s security state, which has been in alleged high gear (or some bright color) since 2001, has already been beefed up.

And yet, once again, this security broke down.
It could be that preventing violence is just not that easy to do. If you have determined enemies who spring up in unexpected quarters, it’s really hard for government to stop them.

Herbert Spencer, a 19th century sociologist, explained it this way: “The law-made instrumentality lumbers on under all varieties of circumstances at its habitual rate. By its very nature it is fitted only for average requirements, and inevitably fails under unusual requirements.”

We cannot expect government to always foresee dangers. We cannot even rely on government to transmit warnings of a specific terrorist from one department to another, and do something about it.

I’m not saying we should expect nothing of government. Just don’t expect too much.
All hope is not lost, however. We have each other. From the heroism of Flight 93 on 9.11 to this Christmas Day incident, passengers have shown they’re not powerless.

‘Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge and the Citizens in Charge Foundation, which sponsors both Common Sense and Paul’s weekly Townhall Column. The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizens in Charge or the Citizens in Charge Foundation.’