By Harry Binswanger
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many people wondered why America had been targeted. In this speech, delivered at Columbia University on October 2, 2001, Dr. Binswanger shows that the answer to that question was revealed in the terrorists’ choice of targets-and goes on to identify the deeper, philosophical meaning of the attacks.
This war represents, not merely a clash of civilizations, but a clash of fundamental ethical premises: the premise of life and the premise of death. America was attacked, Dr. Binswanger argues, because it upholds and embodies the value of life, while its enemies scorn life and worship death.
This talk includes Dr. Binswanger’s moving eulogy to those victims of the attack for whom the media did not utter a single word in tribute: to the 700 dead bond traders at Cantor-Fitzgerald, to the 80 murdered investment bankers at Morgan Stanley, to the traders, brokers, marketers, the men of capitalism, who were the actual targets of the attack-and the heroic representatives of the culture and morality of life.
In an extended question-and-answer period following the speech, Dr. Binswanger addresses topics such as: why bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II was one of the most profoundly moral acts of the 20th century; a ranking of the major religions from better to worse, and the standard to use to rank them; why the best defense against terrorism is a morally confident government; and why the terrorists are cowards, despite the fact they are not afraid to die.
This speech was recorded on October 2, 2001 at Columbia University.
(MP3 download; 86 min., with Q & A, 61.99 MB)