The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

I spend a lot of time on reddit (big love, yo!) and there have been a lot of links recently to stories about the Transportation Security Administration and their security screening procedures which seem to involve either a) being irradiated by a backscatter radar imager, or b) submitting to a full-body physical search that stops short of rectal probing but apparently does occasionally stray into statutory rape.

If I was Johnny Terrorist, I would be looking for a proper job because I have won. One successful major operation on September 11th, a couple of minor abortive attempts and a decade of largely patient inaction, and my target – “The West” – is doing my job for me.

I doubt the terrorists have the resources to wreak the havoc they would like. They therefore have to think laterally. And, thinking laterally, the most elegant solution is to make “The West” use it’s considerable resources to wreak havoc upon itself.

Terrorists have managed to cause an auto-immune response. Auto-immune conditions trick the immune system into believing that healthy cells are infected and attacking them.

The above was written making the assumption that the terrorists are the root cause of this infringement of our liberties and, while that may be true, one could argue that the response is somewhat disproportionate to the cause.

Governments now frequently use the threat – real or imagined – of terrorism as the club with which to beat the baby seal of freedom and liberty because you can make people do anything if they’re scared enough. So while terrorism is doubtless a problem, it is also a very useful tool, if you were so inclined, to manipulate and control your populace1.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

I disagree. A much greater trick is to convince you that the Devil is you. And the Devil may not be who you think he is.

1 Looking at America’s foreign policy through the lens of conspiracy theories about the ruling elite, it is not difficult to view America’s approach to the rest of the world as merely providing a basis for making the elite even more so.