Fatheaded Al Gore on the StumpThis speech
was described by Brendan Nyhan
as "thoughtful", which, of course, says more about Nyhan than the speech.I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
An alternate universe? Isn't that the kind of place where Bruce Wayne married Lois Lane?I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
Yep, and the pollsters also found that Democrats were more likely to believe this. Of course Democrats believe that you need to teach kindergarteners how to put on a condom, so it's hardly surprising that they fall for other hoaxes.In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was - at least for a short time - a quality of vividness and clarity of focus in our public discourse that reminded some Americans - including some journalists - that vividness and clarity used to be more common in the way we talk with one another about the problems and choices that we face. But then, like a passing summer storm, the moment faded.
A quality of vividness and clarity of focus? No, the media got the story wrong. I can see how Gore might have enjoyed that.In fact there was a time when America's public discourse was consistently much more vivid, focused and clear. Our Founders, probably the most literate generation in all of history, used words with astonishing precision and believed in the Rule of Reason.
Despite my admiration for the founding fathers (guess it's politically incorrect to refer to them as fathers), describing them as the most literate generation in history is absurd.
There's more, much more and I may come back to this ridiculous speech.