Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Reviewing The Review

On a previous post, a good friend of PYY, Anonim, has linked to an essay that critiques two books that seem to be making some waves in the world of political ideological discussions, Al Gore's The Assault On Reason and Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe.

This is not a hatchet job on either book, but rather a sincere review of both, by what appears to be someone who has read both with an open mind. This is not to say that any of you will necessarily agree with his assessment. But there is no angry prose, no hyperbole, and no phraseology that would give the impression this is a result of any political hackery.

From the article:

The flipside of his focus on an omnipotent media is his view of the public as essentially passive and gullible. In the section of his book that discusses the American electorate, Gore is inconsistent: he has an idealised view of an educated public but also believes that people uncritically internalise the lies and propaganda that are thrown at them.

Sadly, I think the writer hits it spot on, here. But, he fails to address the fact, there a significant amount of people that can make a lot of angry noise in the current political world. These same people are still upset that Gore was not sworn in on January 20, 2001 and they have not let any of us forget it for the last six (and some change) years.

In some cases, these are educated people that I would not consider stupid in the least. But their hatred of George Bush is so deeply seeded, they cannot have reasonable debates about policy or principles, without blaming him for everything that has gone wrong since his inauguration. These are the people that Gore appeals to most of all and they honestly believe that very word he puts forth is considered gospel, and every word the President puts out is a lie. They appear to be incapable of scrutinizing or critiquing the content, based on the merit of the information they have at hand, all because they worship at the First National Church of the Hate Bush Society. They just do not disagree with him, they allow their seething hatred of the man to drive their every opinion.

Gore’s obsession with the impact of the media on people’s thought patterns leads to a one-sided and technical analysis of the erosion of public life in the US. There’s no doubt the media have considerable power in determining how political and social problems are framed and discussed. But the media rarely succeed in brainwashing their audience or making people nod along to their messages. Indeed, Americans, like people around the world, selectively choose what they accept and believe.

One prime example of this is:

The entire Global Warming issue has become media driven at the behest of Gore and his sycophants. According to them, there are enough scientists who have made their views known that this is a man-made phenomenon. They totally disregard the growing numbers of those scientists that are critical of this and often label them as scientific quacks or tools of the Bush Administration, as means of discrediting them.

I have read a few blog postings here and there that actually claim this theory Gore offers up, as fact. They refer to the group of those that worship at the First Mutual Global Warming Church, as a consensus (when it clearly does not meet the dictionary definition). I cannot consider it as such. When I read intelligent opposing views that consider warming trends in history that were definitely not caused by carbon emissions (because there was no burning of carbon-based fuels), I have to lend much more credence to those that are critical of Gore's group than those that have decided to blindly accept something they know little about.

I know there are many that would take issue with my assessment. But honestly, this is what I see. This is my perception.

Laqueur argues that integration has failed in part because immigrants were just not very interested in integrating, and also because they have been inadvertently encouraged, by the politics of multiculturalism, to establish parallel communities.

This is what the ideology of multi-culturalism does. It does not create a melting pot. It creates a mosaic, with each piece of the whole separated from the others. One piece does not articulate or touch the others, despite the fact all of the pieces make up the entire picture.

There are some merits to honoring one's cultural heritage. I personally see nothing wrong with practicing old-world customs at home, but there must be some attempt to blend in on a social level. Frankly, I do not see it happening very often, these days. I do not see it here. And from the sounds of things, it doesn't sound like it's happening in Europe either.

Anyway, give the review a look, especially if you want to read either book

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