Monday, September 6, 2010

You suck Al Gore

Back in the year 2000 Al Gore was running against George Bush for president of the United States.  At the time I was very much for Gore and figured he would be a good president.  I wasn't completely informed as to US politics but everything Gore said seemed reasonable and I have always ended up being in favour of Democrats over Republicans.  We all know how it turned out of course, and along the way there was much cursing that Al Gore would have been much better.  I don't take that stance back now as I still think with Gore in charge there would be much less pollution, at least one less awful war and vastly more trust in the United States worldwide, but oh man has my opinion of the man plummeted.  You see, I just finished reading Earth in the Balance, Al Gore's book on environmentalism and climate change and he managed to offend and disappoint on so many levels.

I will lead off with some quotes:

"[The United States] will once again redeem its promise as the last best hope of humankind on earth."

"The American drive to correct injustice - from the abolition of slavery to the granting of women's suffrage - has constantly renewed our moral authority to lead."

"The United States has long been the natural leader of the global community of nations."

There are plenty of others of course, all mirroring the idea that the United States enjoys some kind of undeniable moral high ground and is looked up to by the world as the greatest among us.  Not only this, but he insists that the US Constitution is the basis of democracy worldwide; he stops just barely short of suggesting that every country was a depotism prior to US independence.

There is plenty in the book that focuses on climate change instead of grandstanding for his home country of course; unfortunately he provides precious little in the way of numbers and concrete data and plenty of rhetoric and hyperbole.  He is right of course that climate change is real and that the consequences are probably going to be very serious but it is hard to take anything he says seriously when it is so peppered with ridiculous statements.  In particular when Gore starts to theorize about the root causes of climate change he suggests it is all attributable to Plato and Descartes.  You see, their theories about the mind being separate from the world separated religion and science, which of course lead to the current state of environmental degradation.  To be sure, I don't see that at all, but apparently Al Gore does.  He also has this idea that scientists are coming around on the God issue because obviously something had to exist before the Big Bang, so clearly scientists who believe in the Big Bang are beginning to see how God must exist.  Al Gore seems to have forgotten that you don't convince people of scientific fact very well when you spend much of your time shouting about spirituality, mind/body dualism and how science needs to get back to God.

I think the world would have been a much better place if Al Gore had won that election in 2000.  I also think that he is quite the lunatic after reading this book and seeing his movie.  Al Gore, you are better than George W. Bush for president, but I sure wish we could have had someone else entirely.


  1. As a denizen of the internet I'm forced to defend our creator. Al Gore is awesome. Case closed.

  2. During the 2000 presidential election one of the things that was really weird was that Gore and Bush were regarded as pretty similar. This, of course, was because their stated policies were incredibly similar. Apparently in their first debate the phrase "I agree" was used some very large number of times (47 comes to mind, but I can't say I am confident in that).

    I remember looking through their platform and thinking that the only difference that mattered to me was their stance on nuclear weapons (Gore was for reducing America's stock of nukes in an effort to be a world leader in disarmament, Bush not so much).

    Despite this seeming lack of differences, I think we can all say now that the world would be a very different place if Gore had won that election. As you say, most likely one less stupid war, if nothing else. But much more than that, so much of what has happened in the world in the past 7 years has been shaped by the Iraq war and the consequences of countries getting involved or choosing not to get involved. While Al Gore's idea that America is the bastion of hope of justice in the world is a little bit laughable, America is certainly one of the most influential countries in the world, and they would be even more so had they not chosen to throw their reputation away on with-us-or-against-us politics.

    Though a big step up from Bush, Gore is not exactly my favourite guy, and never has been. He and his wife spearheaded into the movement that was attempting to censor song lyrics that were too violent or foul (would someone *please* think of the children) in the 1980s. I've liked him a lot more since he lost that presidential race, and I think he's very sincere in his concern about global warming, not just stirring things up for the sake of it (as that Eaarth guy seemed to be). But anyone who thinks that scientists are coming around on God obviously doesn't let reality impinge on their beliefs too much.

  3. I'm not so certain that Al Gore believes all the Jingoistic fluff that he often stuffs inside the story to try and make a point. He is after all a politician. In order to get Americans to listen he needs to tell us how smart we are, how superior we are and how we are the world's best hope. Of course, thinking and educated Americans know this is all bull$&i^. If an American leader told us the truth about how ignorant, backwards and hypocritical we all were, nobody would want to listen to it - especially the hyper-patriotic, gut-thinking, tea baggers.

  4. It is a fair point Leifer. The stuff he says is completely ridiculous in how American centric it is but that doesn't mean he personally believes it. I think my attacks against the book's statements stand, but with the proviso that Al Gore may specifically be writing things he doesn't believe just to get overly patriotic, foolish Americans to do what he wants.