Saturday, May 15, 2010

Assault on Reason

This is a review of Al Gore's book "Assault on Reason". If you're familiar with my views, you may be surprised that I would even read his book, but I am seriously trying to be more "civil" in my discussions [1].

Pres. Obama actually made a valid point in his commencement address at the University of Michigan [2] about listening to opposing viewpoints:
Still, if you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.
A year ago I read the "Conscience of a Liberal" by Paul Krugman and so I figured it was time for another dose of opposing views.

I was actually quite surprised by how much I enjoyed and agreed with Al Gore's book. He made a good case about the problems of politics in the U.S. today, presenting scientific studies and other information. He discussed the problem of special interests and how they manipulate the political conversation and agenda.

The problem that I had with this book is that after a convincing discourse on America's "assault on reason", it then proceeded to carry out an "assault on reason". The book waged a full attack on President Bush and Republicans. Everything they did was criminal. Not one mention was made of any crimes made by Democrats. "Reason" and civil discourse lead me to acknowledge the faults in my own thoughts and beliefs and recognize the good in opposing views.

Al Gore missed an opportunity to do this. I was surprised to actually make it half-way through the book before getting tired of the force-feeding of anti-Bushisms. I think the best way to summarize this book is "A spoon full of sugar helps the kool-aid go down".

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