Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: The Assault on Reason

We started the audiobook version of the 2008 Al Gore book, The Assault on Reason, on the way back from our recent ski trip. I finished it up on the work commute.

At a high level, the book is about the threat to democracy that comes from an ill-informed citizenry, making the point that we are currently under such a threat. The book covers a number of topics at length, including the growing influence of television vs print over the past few decades, misinformation about global warming, and the implications of the fight over net neutrality.

The bulk of the text is spent on a lengthy and detailed skewering of the Bush-Cheney administration and their many transgressions. These Gore goes into at lengthy and with many detailed fact-based accusations.

Though they are no longer in office, many of their policies are still in place and thus the book is still applicable. As well, the book goes into much detail about the delicate balance between our three branches of government. For me as a non-native, this was educational.

While a little dated, the ideas in the book are still very relevant and applicable.

The Assault on Reason


Dean said...

I haven't read the book so take my comments with a grain (or bucket) of salt :-)

While I voted for Bush/Chenney, I was certainly disappointed with a number of their policies. But I'm more concerned with the policies of the current administration and what I would characterize as the actual attempt to remove information from the citizenry.

I think Gore's ideas (again, notwithstanding that I'm not informed as to what's contained in this book) in addition to his party's policies are ones that attempt to create a "Political Elite" class to govern the citizens with the belief that they can't govern themselves. How nice to wrap the opposite idea assigned to the opposition up in a book to further their cause?

I recently stumbled across the 10 key short-term demands of Karl Marx's communist manifesto while reading a book (can't remember the exact title -- something like the "Top 50 most influential writings of all time" -- I pulled it off a bookshelf while vacationing). It doesn't take any stretch of the imagination to see how the ideas of Gore and the policies of the current administration are attempting to meet those demands. Anyone think that Communism worked out well?

Sadly, the specific freedoms which I enjoy as a citizen of this country are being whittled away by the liberal agenda under the guise of "enlightenment":

Sign me,
Balking at the possibility that Al Gore can put forward "Facts & Truth" and reach a valid conclusion.

KimPallister said...

Hmm... I'm reluctant to be drawn into this debate, but a couple comments.

>what I would characterize as the actual attempt to remove information from the citizenry

Maybe this is a point of view issue, but from my viewpoint, this happened under Bush/Cheney, but I'm equally disappointed with Obama's failure to repeal policies and practices that did exactly what you say. So we end up at the same place, but distribute blame differently I guess.

>his party's policies are ones that attempt to create a "Political Elite" class to govern the citizens with the belief that they can't govern themselves.

Hmm... really not alluded to in the book. If anything the high level on this topic is "we should all spend a little more time getting involved in the debate and less time watching Brittany Spears latest debacle on the TV" and I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that.

Anyhoo. Politics, religion, etc.

Dean Macri said...

Good points! It's all a matter of perspective/view I'd guess.

Given your last summary, I'd wholeheartedly agree with that notion! Especially given that the ~3 hours of TV I watched last Friday waiting for my parents to arrive amounted to my average for TV watching over the last six months being 3hours/six months :-)

Andy said...

Though I fall ragingly on one side of the political spectrum, a good rule of thumb is to shelve the book of/or about any politician until they (or the book) has been out of vogue for a decade.

Public policy in hindsight is funner when you look at it with the same eyes as parachute pants, mullets or (pick your favorite fad from the 80's, 90s or today).

Remember closing Gitmo was a pretty good campaign promise and an easy one to constantly hang on Bush/Cheney (oops, good luck walking that one back).

A recommended read/audio book: Wisdom of our Fathers- by the late Tim Russert. Though the book is not political in nature, he's got a zinger from when he interacted with Pat Manohan (D), who challenged him to look up Nixon's record on spending on social programs.