Cost/Benefit Analysis

Another strange inference form I’m finding in the 911 Truth Movement is the seemingly borrowed from Economics idea that every event must benefit a person in a postive way. I’m actually hesitant to explicate this properly because the terminology is always going to be loaded. What is a ‘positive beneft?’ How do we measure outcomes? And so forth. Perhaps an example will help.

The designated scapegoats of 9/11 gained nothing positive from it. On the other hand, even the hardliners in Washington themselves agree 9/11 boosted their agenda. Who benefits from more of the same? The fear campaign, always resting on the official 9/11 story, looks deliberate. be attacked, is the fastest method for these rulers to get their way when they want war.–Transcript of ‘The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You Never Saw’ hosted by Barrie Zwicker

Here we have the claim that the 911 attacks did not benefit Al Quaeda but did benefit the American Government. What is meant by the claim that the terrorists received no benefit from the 911 attacks? They did received a certain amount of fame/notoreity. According to some descriptions of Islam they also ascended to Heaven, so there were at least some perceived benefits to the 19 hijackers. What benefit did the American Government get out of it? Well, there was the chance to clamp down on certain security holes and rights people were enjoying. The Military got a huge increase in budget. According to people like Zwicker this set of benefits outweighs that of the other side (or story) and this is meant to be evidence that the American Government was more likely to be responsible for the attacks.It’s the old adage: Follow the money.Why should we think that? For one, people do things without thinking about the end result other than that they feel it is the right thing to do. Now, hijacking planes is a little more than gut instinct; this isn’t something you do on the spur of the moment, but even then people can plan events that will not end happily for them. I’m thinking here of people who decide to end relationships in ways that they know will damage them and the other person, the kind of cold-blooded irrationality that is part of the human condition. Also, just because we don’t subscribe to certain views doesn’t mean that people who do are acting (as far as they are concerned) irrationally. I may not believe that martyrdom will get me into Heaven but that doesn’t mean that I should assume that people won’t act as if it does.The other major point is just because one person benefits more from an action than another doesn’t mean that they are more likely to be responsible for that action. We should probably have a social lawlike statement called the Law of Unintended Consequences (of actions) which explains that every action has unintended as well as intended results. Sure, the Bush Administration milked 911 for everything they could get, but that doesn’t mean they orchestrated it. To think that they must have done simply shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works. To claim that the benefit to the Bush Administration of destroying the World Trade Center (American spelling) meant that they, by all likelihood, were responsible for said attack requires much in the way of supporting evidence. Which, admittedly, the 911 Truth Movement seeks to provide (we can’t take these arguments in isolation as they are all supporting parts of one larger argument); I just don’t find it at all convincing.