Al’s Assault on Speech

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 12:09 pm by Neal

(Hat tip: coxandforkum)

Robert Tracinski, writing at Real Clear Politics, has this review of Al Gore’s new book, Al Gore’s Insolent Assault on Reason:

Early coverage of Al Gore’s new book, The Assault on Reason, has focused on the fact that the book is largely an assault on the Bush administration. But they have glossed over the most significant and alarming theme that Al Gore has taken up: his alleged defense of “reason” includes a justification for government controls over political speech.

Judging from the excerpts of Gore’s book published in TIME, his not-so-subtle theme is that reason is being “assaulted” by a free and unfettered debate in the media — and particularly by the fact that Gore has to contend with opposition from the right-leaning media.

His basic theme seems to be: if the left isn’t winning in the marketplace of ideas, there can’t possibly be anything wrong with their ideas. It must be the marketplace itself that is “broken,” and the left needs to use the power of government to fix it — in both senses of the word “fix.”

This is the American left’s version of what strongmen like Vladimir Putin and Pervez Musharraf call “managed democracy.” The “marketplace of ideas” can be trusted to work–so long as everyone agrees with them. But if the public obstinately persists in disagreeing with the left, then the marketplace of ideas must have been “broken” by meddling troublemakers like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch and Karl Rove–and we know how to “fix” those guys, don’t we?

More broadly, this is what the left has traditionally meant by “reason.” For decades, the left has dominated the intelligentsia: the media, the universities, and the other institutions that provide credentials for “experts” — another term Al Gore has been harping on. This leads the left to act as if the latest consensus among its favored experts — whether it be the superiority of socialized medicine or the imminent threat of global warming — must be what every “rational” and well-informed person thinks, because it is the consensus of the elite.

Thus “reason,” as Al Gore uses the term, refers to the ability of the leftist elite to impose its conventional dogmas on the national debate, without the need to persuade or convince others.

In reality, a genuine respect for reason starts with an absolute respect for the mind and judgment of the individual. A respect for reason requires the subordination of coercion to persuasion through the strict limitation of government power. A respect for reason requires a commitment to liberty above all else.

Al Gore stands for the exact opposite.

Hey Liberals: Where oh where did you go so wrong? You do know, though, that it’s never too late to grow up.

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