With this issue, The New Criterion embarks on its twenty-fifth anniversary season. Twenty-five years—a quarter century: yes, it is a long time, but how quickly the years have passed! A lot has changed since September 1982. Back then, there was still something called the Soviet Union, a minatory, intractable behemoth which, for most observers, seemed destined to lumber on indefinitely. In August of that year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped to 776—that’s seven hundred and seventy-six—and many were the bulletins alerting us to the impending “Death of Equities.”

By 1982, we’d suffered through the disgusting spectacle of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the brazen economic blackmail of OPEC—how many of our current political woes were engendered by our inadequate response to those assaults!—but al Qaeda was not yet a twinkling in the mullahs&# ...