As Al Gore spoke, I was personally struck by how much he talks like I write - and how LONG he talks. But then, nobody ever once accused me of writing two short. And like me, he tosses out ten-dollar words that are outside the common vocabulary without thinking twice about it. In fact, probably without thinking about it at all; much less that it might affect how people view him. Professor Gore is in fine form here, actually managing to appear as non-robotic as I've ever seen him.
But never mind the presentation. Listen to what he has to say. Take his words at face value - and don't be embarrassed if you have to pause and look up "venial." No one has to know and doing that makes you twice as smart as people who won't, three times as smart as those who will pretend they know what the word means. Because in this case, he's using the word precisely in context, and there is no other word that would mean precisely that.
This is the full, excruciatingly long, way over 15 minutes full version of Al Gore's speech about his new book, "The Assault on Reason," presented May 29, 2007.
You can find all sorts of "condensed" and "highlights" versions on YouTube, but I think it's important to endure the entire thing, rather than going for the largely political applause lines. In fact, the main context of this speech is a completely apolitical history lesson regarding the origins of our political system and the importance it places on a free, fertile and passionate "marketplace of ideas."
He's clearly done his homework, and frankly, up to the point where he starts drawing conclusions from the facts he presents, I don't think it's possible for a reasonable person to disagree. I do not happen to disagree with his conclusions, such as "the invasion of Iraq was a mistake," though we may well have some significant disagreement as to whether his facts or mine were more significant in determining it.
Where we do agree is that reasonable people can - and indeed MUST disagree, that it's their patriotic DUTY to argue in the public square until every angle and objection has been aired, examined and the full truth emerges. If the "truth" is a foregone conclusion, presented you on a platter for you to disseminate, this is not the American democratic process as envisioned by our Founders.
He quotes M. Scott Peck who said in "A Road Less Traveled;" "Evil is the absence of truth." And I find that is a concept I must agree with; from every perspective from practical to spiritual.
Far too much of the "information" presented the American people, the information they need to form reasoned and informed decisions are, in fact, lies; lies of ommission and commission. Furthermore, this rot has been going on for a very long time. I can think of examples dating back to the Spanish-American War.
I have much more to say about this, and perhaps I'll get the chance to expand this further, but it's looking like a long weekend filled with Real Life, so I'll just stop now.
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