The Assault on Reason Author:Al Gore A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, wh... more »en asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism. We live in an age when the thirty-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate's thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Related to this and of even greater concern is this administration's disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning-first among them an embrace of open inquiry in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions. How did we get here? How much damage has been done to the functioning of our democracy and its role as steward of our security? Never has there been a worse time for us to lose the capacity to face the reality of our long-term challenges, from national security to the economy, from issues of health and social welfare to the environment. As The Assault on Reason shows us, we have precious little time to waste. Gore's larger goal in this book is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason's enemies, to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds, and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life's work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.« less
I am a complete Al Gore groupie, and this book just makes me love Al Gore all the more. He starts by clearly articulating the crisis at hand, with detailed examples that I'm sure we're all aware of from the news. He explains the historical context for the Constitution, reintroduces the reader to the tenets and bases of our democracy, and finally gives us hope that the internet will be the salvation of our democracy, if we all take control and make it happen. It's a very invigorating read.
Superbly researched treatise on the current state of affairs of our 'unreasonable' human tendencies. HOWEVER, Mr. Gore cites the revolutionary war patriot, Thomas Paine, to boost many of his reasoning arguments, but suspiciously is mum on Mr. Paine's greatest book on rationality: "The Age of Reason". It seems his modern book on 'reason' should at least mention his hero's literary work on 'reason', no?
Of course the answer is that Mr. Gore is inconsistent in his use of reason in the matter of deity worship. If he is so enthralled (rightly so!) with Mr. Paine's logic prowess, he should explain why he doesn't agree with the logical, rational argument against christianity, so carefully and fully detailed in "The Age of Reason".