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.
"[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.