Well this book is absolutely packed with information and I feel it would only do it justice to write this review in parts, this is based on where I am so far in the book (just finished introduction + first chapter).
I’d have to say this is the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time, The Assault on Reason, I am about 50 pages into the book and it has already changed my view on many things. Al Gore should have run for preisdent this year, as everyone sees that allowing him to slip through the cracks has left us with a studdering idiot. I am a huge fan of An Inconvienient Truth and will be writing a review of it in the near future, but this book is just as powerful. It starts by pointing out the major flaws in our political system, the largest quite simply being the American public.
While some may take offense to this, it doesn’t change the fact that our country is founded on “an informed citizenry” to make collective rational decisions through the use of electing officials that will be able to cope with problems. Many people are saying that our country is no longer in the 1700’s and we are well educated, therefore we don’t need to use the electoral college system anymore. Personally, I find this ridiculous due to the fact that every other college student that I debate politics with simply cites some news article they saw via corporate mass media as proof for their point.
This is where The Assault on Reason begins, by pointing out the truly American obsession with the television. As a nation obesity rates are increasing, corporate interests are working their way into our political system, the news is becoming flooded with headlines rather than content, and voters can be bought. These problems are all related, they are all results of the fact that the average American spends 75% of their spare time (time not being used for eating, sleeping, and work) watching television.
The book actually changed one of the things I was doing as I was reading it, probably permanantly. It stated a condition called the “the orienting response” in which our eyes are automatically drawn to motion no matter how hard we try to not do it. As a result, I realized I was sneaking peeks at the television while in my chair reading. This is scary because it shows how we are literally drawn into a trance while watching television, and our neurons are telling us that it benefits our survival to keep watching.
The problem that the book delves into on the first page of the book is quite simple, congress no longer listens to itself. Congress has seen greatly decreasing amounts of great speeches simple because nobody will be there to hear it. I personally watch C-Span (odd for an 18 year old, yes) because I find it astonishing how much our nation has changed. No longer do politicians speak to the people, or to their peers. They travel the country on corporate jets and give speeches to contributors for their next election so that they can buy 30 second ad campaigns in the next election cycle; why not?
The mainstream media won’t broadcast the speeches anyway, there are far too many other “news worthy” headlines to concentrate on such as Britney Spears shaving her head and more recently UFO’s have been spotted!!one!1! ~ I was watching CNN while I was working out tonight at the YMCA and they kept advertising the upcoming news article: UFO’s seen in rural town; experts and witnesses will be interviewed. Then I switched to the History channel to see if there was anything interesting on… the history of UFO spottings. I wanted to see how the candidates are doing in Nevada so I switch to ABC….”UFO’S, do you think they are real?”.
On Monday night (1/21/08) I watched the Democratic debates on CNN and was amazed to see how all three candidates were at each other’s throats for things each of them have done. John Edward wouldn’t stop bringing up corporate lobbyists even though his campaign is funded by the trial lawyer lobby in a large part. Obama was criticizing Hillary for being associated with Wal-Mart and for picking apart specific votes of his during his tenure in the state legislature (although he does the same thing). Hillary was bringing up a few huge issues such as Obama’s defense of a Chicago slum lord and his repeated “present” votes that were basically the same as not voting on important issues so that he wouldn’t be liable for them later in his career. All of these are big personal issues, but I think a debate should be about the issues. The policies that these politicians believe in will have a deep impact on the global scale as I truly feel the Democrats will take this election (whether it be Obama, Hillary, or Edwards), sorry Ron Paul.. I’m a big fan but the nation isn’t ready yet. Once this nation wakes up and starts looking at the stances of politicians rather than their personal vendetta’s we will be able to reclaim our democracy. I am only 18 years old, I shouldn’t realize what a state of disarray our union is in, but it is abundantly clear.
This book is already changing the way I see the world and I’m not even 20% into it yet… I couldn’t possibly give it a stronger recommendation.
It gets an 11/10 (I will never give this rating unless I feel it would harm the public not to). Do yourself and our nation a favor, The Assault on Reason by Al Gore. Feel free to bookmark this post if you find it useful.