Take, for example, the tragic events of September 11, 2001. A central fact that's been overlooked ever since, by nearly every fashionable pundit, is this: every truly effective action that was taken on that awful day -- to palliate the harm and thwart our enemies -- was performed by private individuals. Citizens who proved themselves to be far more agile, imaginative and resourceful than any of society's elites picture them to be!
Most of the useful video footage was taken by private parties, armed with the new equalizers -- cameras -- a potentially crucial element in future emergencies.
Private cell phones spread word quicker than official media, including crucial calls for evacuation and rebellion. So did email and instant messaging, when the phone system got swamped.
Potentially harmful rumors were swiftly debunked by independent "urban legend" or hoax-busting web sites, taking on a role that government can never be trusted with. A role unsuitable for any highly-vested class.
Swarms of volunteers descended on the disaster sites, as local officials quickly dropped their everyday concerns about liability or professional status in order to use all willing hands.
Finally, the sole immediate action that effectively thwarted terrorist plans was taken aboard United Flight 93, by individuals armed with intelligence and communication tools -- and a mandate -- completely outside official channels.