Friday, August 10, 2007

The Assault on Reason

Perhaps the strongest argument I can make in order to compel you to read this book is the picture it paints of Mr. Gore himself. One of the tenets of this book is that our view of the world has been seriously distorted by TV. After reading The Assault on Reason I’m left with the picture of a deeply thoughtful, educated and passionate man. It is so at odds with the TV image of a stiff and humorless Al Gore.

I’ll be honest, I’ve put off writing this post for a couple of weeks. It’s a hard book to distill into its essence because it is already so refined. A case in point; I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog entry than the title of the book itself. The title is the essence of the book. It’s about a deliberate attack on our society’s ability to rationally think about our problems and how we might solve them. See what I mean ? I’m sitting here trying to find better words to describe a book that already has better words.

The book is broad in scope and thought provoking. Yet, I was shocked to note the body of the book is only 276 pages. For me, it felt much weightier. Books that normally leave me with this feeling are in the 1,000 page range. There are many substantial issues covered in this book but Mr. Gore makes his point -- concisely -- and moves on. And the points stick with you. After you read the book, you’ll be able to notice how it has influenced my thoughts in these past few weeks. I feel certain that it will influence your thoughts also. You need to read this book.

I can’t get past this point so forgive me for returning to it. Al Gore isn’t a stranger to us. He was Vice President -- a very visible Vice President -- for 8 years. He ran though the high visibility gauntlet of a Presidential campaign. How did this Al Gore -- the Al Gore you find in this book -- remain out of sight ? How could someone with such intellect, such breadth of knowledge, such power of reason -- with the ability to organize and present his thoughts succinctly -- remain unknown to the public ?

The thought occurs to me that this is the kind of man we want as our President. The question is, “Why didn’t we posses this knowledge when we had a chance to act upon it ?” The answer is the same answer as to the question of why 70% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was somehow responsible for the attacks on 9/11. It’s the same answer as to why we as a nation were so uninformed about the potential aftermath of the Iraq War. Find the answer. Turn off the TV, put the computer to sleep and pick up a book. This book.

Don Brown
August 10, 2007

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