Come, Now, and Let Us "Reason" Together
Al Gore, in his new book The Assault on Reason, shows he is again half a step slow. According to a book description on Amazon.com, AR is "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." Gore is a step behind because Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and other advocates of "reason" have been bashing religious belief and believers for a long time. Some visionary. Someone please tell me why the advocates of sweet "reason" usually seem to be the most unreasonable.
Gore's complaint, assuming the rest of the book goes on in this vein, sounds suspiciously like some of the warnings pouring out of leftish opinion leaders following the 2004 presidential election, to wit:
1. Normally level-headed Times columnist Tom Friedman said he was "deeply troubled." "[W]hat troubled me yesterday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support by people who don't just favor different policies than I do?they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is."
2. "The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule," wrote fellow Times columnist Maureen Dowd. "? W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq?drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals ? by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage." (On stem cells, Bush has actually taken a moderate approach, opposing federal funding for research on new embryonic stem cells lines?which involves the destruction of innocent human life?while placing no restrictions on the more promising research based on stem cells from adults and umbilical cords.)
3. Historian Garry Wills linked the results with the 1925 Scopes trial, in which fundamentalist Christians, led by William Jennings Bryan, were discredited for their simplistic opposition to evolution, causing many to withdraw from the larger society. Wills called the vote "Bryan's revenge," asking, "Can a people that believes more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution still be called an enlightened nation?"
So if Gore is seeking to accuse those with whom he disagrees of being intolerant bigots, then he'd better take a number. To me, however, it looks like he's still just mad that he lost the 2000 election (i.e. "Those who refused to vote for me are kooks") and frustrated that his overhyped book and documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, hasn't won over the skeptics as well as it has the mainstream media.