Not many people remember Al Gore’s 2007 book, The Assault on Reason. It came out a year after Gore’s 2006 movie/book combo, An Inconvenient Truth. It’s hard to pick up the 2007 effort without a chuckle. As one reviewer put it at the time, Assault on Reason is “an aptly titled tome” that accurately reflects its contents.
Then there’s the book jacket that talks about the “politics of fear” and an opening chapter that warns: “If leaders exploit public fears to herd people in directions they might not otherwise choose, then fear itself can quickly become a self-perpetuating and free-wheeling force that drains national will and weakens national character.”
Fear, adds Al Gore the great climate fear-monger, can be promulgated using three techniques: repetition, misdirection and making the irregular seem regular. “By using these narrative tools alone, anyone with a loud platform can ratchet up public anxieties and fears, distorting public discourse and reason.”
Gore’s politics-of-fear warning in 2007 targeted George W. Bush for allegedly resorting to fear of terrorism to invade Iraq. Irony awareness is apparently not part of Gore’s personality. And so now he’s back, loud and clear on multiple platforms, ratcheting up public anxieties over fossil fuels and climate change.
As if following his own advice, Gore is this summer sweeping across the global media landscape and into public consciousness with a new movie and a new book that are deliberately designed to stir fear in the world’s people, if not terror, of a coming climate apocalypse.