9/11 babies are voters

by Chris Bertram on September 11, 2019

It doesn’t seem like 18 years, but it is. Babies born that day are now voters, among other things. Crooked Timber, 16-years old now, came out of the eruption of blogging that followed 9/11. In the atmosphere that developed after 9/11, many of the ways of thinking, arguing, abusing and obfuscating that we associated with the new populism became commonplace. Those who expressed critical opinions, even people of the stature of Nelson Mandela or Mary Robinson, were subject to character assassination by armies of keyboard vigilantes. Ordinary people who said something critical had no chance: recall Cindy Sheehan? Fake and fakish news and associated panics became part of the landscape. In the subsequent wars, particularly in the Middle East, criticisms of US or Israeli actions were blunted by swarms of amateur online experts comparing and undermining photographic evidence. Maybe we’d have ended up here anyway, but that terrible and murderous day set us on the path to the pit of Trump and Brexit, a pit that will be hard to climb out of.

UPDATE: I’m reminded via twitter that the anthrax scare was about a real thing, even though the anti-Muslim spin that was part of the panic around it was confected. I’ve changed the OP to reflect that.