In each generation, for different reasons, America witnesses a tug of war between the instinct to suppress and the instinct for openness. Today, with the perception of a mortal threat from terrorists, the instinct to suppress is in the ascendancy. Part of the reason for this is the trauma that our country experienced on September 11, 2001, and part of the reason is that the people who are in charge of our government are inclined to use the suppression of information as a management strategy.
Rather than waiting ten or fifteen years to point out what's wrong with the current rush to limit civil liberties in the name of "national security," these essays by top thinkers, scholars, journalists, and historians lift the veil on what is happening and why the implications are dangerous and disturbing and ultimately destructive of American values and ideals. Without our even being aware, the judiciary is being undermined, the press is being intimidated, racial profiling is rampant, and our privacy is being invaded. The "war on our freedoms " is just as real as the "war on terror "-and, in the end, just as dangerous.