Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Even a chimp gets it right once in awhile

"If an infinite number of monkeys are given typewriters for an infinite amount of time, they will eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare." --Thomas Huxley, June 30, 1860; thanks to soj for the quote

Writing in today's New York Times, super pundit Thomas Friedman opines:
In New Delhi, the Indian writer Gurcharan Das remarked to me that with each visit to the U.S. lately, he has been forced by border officials to explain why he is coming to America. They "make you feel so unwanted now," said Mr. Das. America was a country "that was always reinventing itself," he added, because it was a country that always welcomed "all kinds of oddballs" and had "this wonderful spirit of openness." American openness has always been an inspiration for the whole world, he concluded. "If you go dark, the world goes dark."

Bottom line: We urgently need a national commission to look at all the little changes we have made in response to 9/11 - from visa policies to research funding, to the way we've sealed off our federal buildings, to legal rulings around prisoners of war - and ask this question: While no single change is decisive, could it all add up in a way so that 20 years from now we will discover that some of America's cultural and legal essence - our DNA as a nation - has become badly deformed or mutated?

I don't much think we need a national commission. We simply need to stop acting like scared rats and start living like confident citizens of the richest, most powerful, even if most ignorant, country in the world. Fear is a sickness; courage heals.

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