Ed Driscoll

Al Gore And The Original Assault On Reason

Dubbing Al Gore “The Thinking Man’s Thinking Man”, Newsweek has yet another of its unintentionally ironic headlines.  (At least we think the irony is unintentional, although Conquest’s Third Law is always a potential factor.)

And while we won’t say a word about the inherent sexism in the headline coming from such an archliberal publication, at Newsbusters, Tim Graham writes:

Al_Gore_Newsweek_Cover_11-9-09Permit a late word or two on Newsweek’s thoroughly in-the-tank cover story for Al Gore. Sharon Begley oozed about Gore’s favorite quote in his book – but never seems to note that Gore’s “philosopher” expert is a Marxist. It comes near the very end of the piece:

His favorite quote in [his new book] Our Choice is from the philosopher Theodor Adorno (1903–1969): “The conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power … has attacked the very heart of the distinction between true and false.”

Adorno, and his colleagues in what is called the “Frankfurt School,” are Marxists. Al Gore and his liberal admirers in the press (see this Seattle Times dispatch) aspire to make it through Adorno’s impenetrable prose. British journalist Alastair McKay brightly reported that in Scotland in 2006, Gore lauded the entire school of Marxists:

“After World War Two there were a group of very thoughtful, humane, decent philosophers – Germans – who were so horrified, humiliated, shamed by what had happened in Germany that they became what is known as the Frankfurt School – Jurgen Habermas is probably the best known.

They devoted themselves over decades to exploring the question: what in the hell happened? And one of them, a philosopher named Theodore Adorno – conducted a philosophical autopsy of the Weimar and the emergence of the Third Reich. And he identified the first significant symptom of their descent into hell. He said this: ‘All questions of fact became questions of power’.

Gore’s entire construction of the global-warming debate is between reason (that’s the we’re-almost-roasted-marshmallows doom) and unreason, superstition, and capitalist propaganda (that’s conservatives). We face a “democracy crisis” because people have failed so far to bow to his genius. After a windy account of how the Enlightenment and the printing press allowed a new “rule of reason,” Gore launched into an attack on television for ruining democracy:

“The information ecology defined by the printing press was displaced 40 ears ago in my country by the television, and it’s now so dominant that the average American watches television for four hours and 39 minutes a day. It has a quasi-hypnotic effect [It certainly did on Al — he launched his own little-watched TV channel in 2005 — Ed], and the internet’s a great source of hope and it replicates that meritocracy of ideas but it does not have that hypnotic effect that television has.

“I see the internet as a source of hope. To use the Star Wars analogy, the rebellion is alive and well on the internet on some far galaxy, connected to ours, and it is growing, and I do believe that it is changing the operation of our political dialogue, democratising it, opening it up, so that questions of fact become questions of truth instead of power, so that there’s not censorship of global warming studies.”

Notice how Gore is always making conservatives into the unspeakable evil in his analogies: the Nazis, in the Frankfurt School analogy, and Darth Vader’s forces in the Star Wars analogy. Press him, and he denies the analogy is exact; but that’s how he wants his liberal allies to feel about themselves, that they are the anti-Nazi Skywalkers in this perilous ecological era, fighting “the Assault on Reason.”

Apropos of nothing, I wonder if Gore, who spent time in South Vietnam as a young U.S. Army journalist realizes that he’s rooting for George Lucas’s sci-fi stand-ins for the NVA?

And the Frankfurt School? Why does that name ring a bell? Oh yeah

(If you’re pressed for time, scroll about six minutes into their appearance in Bill Whittle’s must-watch video from late August.)

Update: Thomas Sowell recently wrote, “ My first column, more than 30 years ago, was titled ‘The Profits of Doom.’ Recent news stories about the millions of dollars that Al Gore has made out of his ‘global warming’ hysteria suggest that some things haven’t changed much in three decades.” Meanwhile, George Will wonders if there now exists a Bad Climate for Global Worriers.”