Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is Al Gore America's last serious politician?

David Seaton's News Links
Is Al Gore America's last serious politician? Can any other major American politician ask the questions he asks in this Time article... in this manner... with a straight face?

Will America be finally forced to choose between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton?

Will history record that America's democracy died of terminal silliness? DS

Al Gore: The Assault on Reason - Time Magazine
Abstract: Not long before our nation launched the invasion of Iraq, our longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor and said: "This chamber is, for the most part, silent—ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate." Why was the Senate silent? In describing the empty chamber the way he did, Byrd invited a specific version of the same general question millions of us have been asking: "Why do reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions?" The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable. A large and growing number of Americans are asking out loud: "What has happened to our country?" People are trying to figure out what has gone wrong in our democracy, and how we can fix it. To take another example, for the first time in American history, the Executive Branch of our government has not only condoned but actively promoted the treatment of captives in wartime that clearly involves torture, thus overturning a prohibition established by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It is too easy—and too partisan—to simply place the blame on the policies of President George W. Bush. We are all responsible for the decisions our country makes. We have a Congress. We have an independent judiciary. We have checks and balances. We are a nation of laws. We have free speech. We have a free press. Have they all failed us? Why has America's public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? Faith in the power of reason—the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power—remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault. READ IT ALL

1 comment:

RLaing said...

The U.S. government has condoned and promoted torture before, as in the Tiger Cages of its war on Vietnam. It's the usual 'never before' song we continually hear from American politicians. No, the only new thing is the honesty about using torture, even if the reasons given for it are bogus.

Faith in the power of reason has always been overblown. It's Leo Strauss who understood how people are ruled, not Al Gore.

The real decisions are made by the CEO class. The voters get to decide the 'style' of the individual who will implement those decisions. Will it be the millionaire posing as a goose hunter, or the millionaire posing as a ranch hand? The silliness of U.S. presidential politics is entirely appropriate. Expect it to continue.