In 2001 I was a student, working at my PC, probably on something technical for a client (I am and always have been a freelancer / contractor type) rather than on coursework. I got a call from a friend, telling me in hurried and urgent tones to turn on the TV. He was quickly gone but I understood he would have meant a “news channel” (cable TV was new in Pontypridd but we all had it) though very soon turning on any channel would take me to New York.
Throughout this time, blogging was beginning to happen in a big way. IT politics, and “new media” frequently crossed over and I started clicking from blog to blog, exploring Technorati and reading a lot. A started to see similarities between the blogs, there were “left-wing” ones and ones that were further to “the right”. I had started with no clear idea with what those words meant and I liked that blogs all had their own biases but were open about them. I had read in Popper (thanks Samizdata!) how it was impossible not to have any bias and learned to accept it, and got a better understanding of blog content because of their openly ideological character. I started to map the mainstream media biases onto basic political terminology. Then, and I have a very clear memory of this, I started to peer into the words themselves. I wrote down three words on a notebook “liberty”, “liberal” and “libertarian”, then I actually read the Political Spectrum article on Wikipedia and bang! The 2D world turned 3D and I suddenly knew where I was, and where everyone else was.
The death of 3000 innocent people 12 years ago persuaded me that something was very fundamentally wrong, and that it mattered. When I started looking for answers I found a whole lot more problems that are, I think, worse than any single terrorist incident. I cared that 3000 people died but what I found afterwards was a system of ideas – socialism, etc – that is so incredibly destructive to property, as well as lives, that 3000 casualties in one day seems like almost nothing at all compared to what is destroyed year on year by bad ideas.