Confucius — the Chinese philosopher and statesman — was asked what he would do if made sovereign of his own land. He replied that he would focus on the rectification of names (Chinese characters above). Confucius concluded that as long as we fail to correctly understand the words we use, we will never understand the concepts behind the words and confusion will reign (no matter who or what is sovereign).
A modest attempt at rectification, drawing on the etymology of the English words:
Home: abode, dwelling place, village, world
Land: meadow, heath, region
Security: without anxiety, absence of care (se- is a Latin prefix meaning without)
Homeland security is a populous area free of anxiety.
Given the role of anxiety, it is worth recognizing that anxiety is the anticipation of pain.
I am reminded of fragment from W.H. Auden:
Our thoughts have bodies; the menacing shapes of our fever
Are precise and alive. For the fears which made us respond
To the medicine ad and the brochure of winter cruises
Have become invading battalions;
And our faces, the institute-face, the chain-store, the ruin
Are projecting their greed as the firing squad and the bomb. (Spain, 1937)
Homeland security is — evidently — an anti-anxiety therapeutic. If so, we have, I worry, been giving more attention to symptoms than underlying cause.
(I am offline most of this week. This post was cued-up long before August 1 and I will not be around to comment. I hope today is mostly anxiety-free in terms of breaking homeland security news.)