"The World Trade Center should…because of its importance, become a living representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his belief in the cooperation of men, and through this cooperation his ability to find greatness."
— World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1987)
I flew into New York a couple of weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For the length of the short flight from Cincinnati, my anxiety about flying so soon after the September 11 hijackings was overwhelmed by my dread of the moment that I knew would come just minutes before landing in LaGuardia airport.
It was a brilliantly clear morning, not unlike the day of the attacks, a virtually cloudless blue sky. After flying across New Jersey and Staten Island, the plane cruised over Brooklyn and then banked up the East River, giving me and the few other passengers onboard an appallingly postcard-perfect view of the irreparably altered Manhattan skyline. From the sky, no trace of the Twin Towers—those gargantuan cathedrals of commerce—was visible, except for a few whisps of smoke that slowly faded into nothingness. Amid the muffled, horrified gasps from fellow passengers on the plane, I heard one murmur, "It's gone. It's really all gone."
Weeks after the attacks, it's still impossible to tally up all the losses, both literal and figurative. Certainly, more than the World Trade Center was destroyed in September, more was damaged than the Pentagon—more was lost even than thousands of innocent lives. A decade after the end of the Cold War, a decade after many in the West had declared the universal triumph of liberal democracy, we have been brutally reinserted back into history, into deep-seated ideological and violent conflict. It is far from clear how events will play out, or what the final toll will be.
Many of the stories in this issue of reason try to take the measure of this grim new reality. Domestically, there is cause for concern beyond more terrorist strikes: Members of the Bush administration and Congress have already lectured the press on the need for self-censorship, and some news organizations have altered their coverage in response to such pleas. Our cover story, "Guarding the Home Front" (see page 34), surveys a panel of experts on which civil liberties are most at risk as the U.S. prosecutes the War on Terrorism; in "Liberty's Paradoxes" (see page 25), Contributing Editor Cathy Young asks provocatively whether we must give up some freedom now to secure our way of life for the longer term. In "2001 Nights" (see page 62), Senior Editor Charles Paul Freund analyzes "the Orientalist critique," which holds that the West has systematically conceptualized the Middle East as barbaric and subhuman, and raises the unexamined issue of Islamic "Occidentalism." My own essay, "The New Cold War" (see page 72) suggests that the nation's cultural identity in the wake of the attacks is changing in ways that confound both the right and the left.
Regular readers of reason have already noticed that they are holding a radically different-looking magazine in their hands. Needless to say, I had hoped to unveil our first full-scale graphic redesign in close to a decade in better times. The new look is the result of a year's collaboration with Louis Rossetto, who provided invaluable assistance, including hooking us up with designers Erik Spiekermann and Susanna Dulkinys. I'd like to thank them—and all our readers who contributed financially to the redesign—for their efforts. I look forward to your responses.