Recall Pope Innocent III's words: "Man is made of mud and ashes ...
Why are you proud, O mud? Wherefore art thou exalted? What are you, O
ash, that you should boast?"
The World Trade Center stood as a monument, a monument to freedom,
reason, achievement, wealth. It is egoistic pursuit of material
prosperity that is the ideal America stands for. We are free, rich, happy
-- and we have earned it. This is what the terrorists wanted to smash.
They weren't trying to save Islam, or Afghanistan, or anything else. They
just wanted to die, and they wanted us to die with them.
Commentators are getting a glimmer of all this when they say we are
now in a war between civilization and barbarism. This is close, but the
commentators leave out the issue of the dedication to producing wealth,
and that from which wealth flows: the free, independent, proud man.
We are at war. But it is not a war between East and West or Muslim and
Christian. It is the war between those who call for man to prostrate
himself before an imagined supernatural being vs. those who want man to
stand proudly erect and raise his eyes toward conquering the heavens in
pursuit of happiness here on this earth, in this life.