On the (almost) 10-year anniversary of 9/11, I gave a speech at Western Kentucky University. The speech was titled “Lessons Not Learned from 9/11: An Economic, Numerate, and Constitutional Perspective.”

Here are the opening lines:

It’s altogether fitting and proper that we should take time to remember the innocent people whose lives were lost on September 11. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anyone on that horrible day. But some friends of mine did lose people they knew and cared for; one friend lost two of his friends: one in the airplane that flew into the Pentagon and one in the World Trade Center in New York. And anyone in this audience who has ever watched a rerun of Cheers or Frasier has some connection to someone murdered on 9/11: TV producer David Angell, who, with his wife, Lynn, was on American Airlines #11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center.

Before I go on, let me ask: is there anyone here who lost any of the 2,977 victims of 9/11?


But if all we do is remember and mourn the dead, we will lose an important opportunity to learn from what happened on 9/11. That’s why I’m here: to tell you what we can learn.