Monday, January 11, 2010

Book4: The Assault on Reason

Al Gore's The Assault on Reason

I'm not sure what Al Gore wanted to provoke in people reading this book. I'll summarize my reaction in one word: Angry. This book made me angry. Angry at the Bush Administration, all over again. At our Congress. At a handful of our judges. At those appointed by politicians. At some faith leaders. At people in general. At myself.

Why? Because Al Gore touched a nerve. Published in 2007, Gore’s work highlights the number of areas where we are allowing our political, spiritual, and corporate leaders to govern by something other than reason. In the first draft of this post, I listed the litany ills Mr. Gore highlights. I made the decision to not rehash them all here.

Mr. Gore points out that the number one source of information today is television, a one-sided flow of information at best. When this country was founded, it was by people who valued reason and discourse. Gore offers that as time has passed, we've become more inclined to act irrationally, basing our decisions on fear and blind faith more than reason. We've had leaders who have exploited this trait. As rational beings, when this type of propaganda and manipulation is exposed, we should question it and hold the perpetrators responsible. Yet for whatever reason, no pun intended, we're less likely to do this now. We're less likely to even know about it.

Mr. Gore’s book certainly made me think. I often joke that I get all my news from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, and I do watch the show religiously. I read the news headlines every day, from several sources. But I’ve been negligent lately. I listen to my iPod in the mornings while I am getting ready for work. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be listening to NPR. I’ll be paying closer attention to what the New York Times and the BBC are publishing. I’ll be holding my representatives accountable.

I honestly wondered at the beginning of this book if Mr. Gore was writing it as more of a “Told you so” after “losing” the 2000 election. The more I read, though, the more I saw how much we as a society are not using reason, how much I'm not using reason, and the consequences of that apathy. I finished the book with a renewed commitment to doing what is right rather than what is easy.

So, ten days into January and I've completed four books. I'm pretty pleased with that. But I need something less intense for the next book, so I'm going back into fiction. I've started Melissa Marr's Fragile Eternity, and I'll be posting on that next. Checkout, a Melissa Marr fan site if you'd like a little insight into the Faery world that is the heart of the Wicked Lovely franchise.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say that I have already turned away from listening to NPR every morning. I feel guilty about that, but I need a new boycott for a while. I'm so disappointed in our politicians right now that it causes me stress to hear about it all. Hopefully one day soon I can go back to being an informed citizen. Right now, what seems most reasonable is to not pay attention.