Steyn on Government Failures of Fighting Terrorism

25 December 2006 at 11:08 am 1 comment

| Nicolai Foss |

My favorite conservative commentator, Mark Steyn, has these acute observations on how private entrepreneurship may trump government action in the fighting of terrorism:

Most of what went wrong on September 11 we knew about in the first days after. Generally, it falls into two categories:

1. Government agencies didn’t enforce their own rules (as in the terrorists’ laughably inadequate visa applications.


2. The agencies’s rules were out of date — three out of those four planes reached their targets because their crews, passengers and ground staff all blindly followed the FAA’s 1970 hijack procedures until it was too late, as the terrorists knew they would.

… But on the fourth plane, they didn’t follow the seventies hijack rituals. On Flight 93, they used their cell phones, discovered that FAA regulations weren’t going to save them, and then acted as free men, rising up against the terrorists and, at the cost of their own lives, preventing that flight carrying on to its target in Washington. On a morning when big government failed, the only good news came from private individuals. The first three planes were effectively an airborne European Union, where the rights of the citizens had been appropriated by the FAA’s flying nanny state. Up there where the air is rarified, all your liberties have been regulated away: there’s no smoking, there’s 100 percent gun control, you’re obliged by law to do everything the cabin crew tell you … For thirty years, passengers surrendered their more and more rights for the illusion of security, and, as a result, thousands died. On the fourth plane, Todd Beamer and others reclaimed those rights, and demonstrated that they could exercise them more efficiently than government” (pp. 184-85, America Alone).

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Entrepreneurship.

Raico on the European Miracle Christmas Reading

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Richard dur  |  30 May 2007 at 8:15 pm

    where abouts might one find tha FAA’s 1970 hijack procedures?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts


Former Guests | posts


Recent Posts



Our Recent Books

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

%d bloggers like this: