Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Al Gore and Reason

Al Gore has a new book in which he accuses the Bush administration of not using reason:
Mr. Gore’s central argument is that “reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions” and that the country’s public discourse has become “less focused and clear, less reasoned.” This “assault on reason,” he suggests, is personified by the way the Bush White House operates. Echoing many reporters and former administration insiders, Mr. Gore says that the administration tends to ignore expert advice (be it on troop levels, global warming or the deficit), to circumvent the usual policy-making machinery of analysis and debate, and frequently to suppress or disdain the best evidence available on a given subject so it can promote predetermined, ideologically driven policies.

It's hard to take this sort of argument seriously: "The other side is not being reasonable, but we are." Doesn't everybody say that? It just means that the two sides disagree, which is, of course, the reason there are two sides.

Seriously, how is this any different from what Republicans would say about Democrats? All Gore is doing is trying to reframe his political disagreement with Republicans into a statement that he is reasonable and they are not. It seems to me that reasonable people can disagree. Just because someone disagrees does not make them unreasonable.

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