But just as Americans should not have let the terrorists win, I don't want to let government bullies strip air travel of its wonder. To quote Louis C.K., "You're sitting in a chair in the sky!" It is truly amazing to see the ground fall away below you, to rise up through the clouds. Another wonder is that while flying may feel unnatural, it's incredibly safe. Tens of thousands of planes ferry millions of passengers from place to place in the United States alone without incident every single day. The exceedingly rare crash is what makes the news, though, because it's dramatic, but also because it's exceedingly rare.
I felt a sense of wonder, too, while visiting the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota and realizing, thanks in large part to an enormous scale model, what an impressive logistical feat the 19th-century travelling circus was. Of course, trapeze artists and human cannonballs and lion tamers wowed their audiences. But the coordination required to set up and tear down and move the circus from town to town, feeding 1,500 performers and crew three meals a day, caring for and feeding all those animals—now that's really something.
Human beings are capable of doing awful things like hijacking planes to kill thousands, or using the power of government to inconvenience, intimidate, and embarrass millions. But it would be a terrible mistake to forget to appreciate all the wonderful and wondrous things we are capable of doing. Indeed, it's because of how creative and inventive we are, of how good we are at solving problems and organizing ourselves and coordinating our actions when we're left to our own devices and markets are allowed to function, that most of us really don't need to be forced to be good by arrogant authoritarians with delusions of grandeur.