The Assault on Reason

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2008, 12:00am

The Assault on Reason

by Al Gore

Bloomsbury, HK$144

The Assault on Reason is Al Gore's litany of inconvenient truths about the Bush administration. Gore argues American democracy is in danger because of changes in the marketplace of ideas. Television is partly to blame because it offers only snapshots of important affairs and panders to the public's obsession with trivia. This is a subject that has long interested him: in a college thesis on the impact of TV on government, he pointed out the growing importance of 'visual rhetoric ... over logic and reason'. Gore - who says America's founders believed a well-informed citizenry could 'secure liberty for individuals by substituting reason for brute force' - underscores the consequences of a blinkered populace with the statistic of 70 per cent of Americans accepting, when US forces invaded Iraq, that Saddam Hussein was linked to the attacks of September 11. Mass deception was to blame, he says, spiking a fear of terrorism that created a mood in which Bush was able to violate the law in the name of the national interest. Filling the void once plugged by reason is 'fear, superstition, ideology, deception, intolerance and obsessive secrecy', claims Gore, which is why it is time for clear thinking on issues such as the economy, security, and, of course, the environment.