Stuck in Stagnation

“Faith in the power of reason – the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available – was and remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.”
-Al Gore, The Assault on Reason

I continually sense what Al Gore has called the assault on reason in today’s politics. There is a lack of logical and empathetical reasoning that has created a stalemate in our country. From health care, to climate change, to financial reform, solutions have been held up in gridlock. I don’t know who to blame, so I blame everyone.

We all have a tendency to get caught up in our own cosmological views, or the way we see the world, and ideas that threaten those views are rejected. It’s a psychological phenomenon that this NPR story explains better than I can.

And the United States could be the only developed nation that is not taking Climate Change seriously. The U.K. and the E.U. are implementing policies to reduce their emissions, China is leading the world in renewable energy production, and even Australia with the highest per capita carbon emissions has a plan. With a problem this complex, how can every other country “get it”, while the U.S. sits idly?

Could there be some magical way to convince people of threats that are 20 or 30 years away that will make them seek solutions now? Something is working everywhere else in the world. So we better try too; and we better try with open minds.


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