Gore’s Speech to MoveOn

The text of Al Gore’s speech to MoveOn today is here. Excerpt:

“Earlier, I mentioned the feeling many have that something basic has gone wrong. Whatever it is, I think it has a lot to do with the way we seek the truth and try in good faith to use facts as the basis for debates about our future — allowing for the unavoidable tendency we all have to get swept up in our enthusiasms.

That last point is worth highlighting. Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we’re all used to that. I’ve even been guilty of it myself on occasion. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty.

Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing with in the Bush Presidency is the latter. That is really the nub of the problem — the common source for most of the false impressions that have been frustrating the normal and healthy workings of our democracy.

Americans have always believed that we the people have a right to know the truth and that the truth will set us free. The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth — and a shared respect for the Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth.

The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic process, and I think it’s partly because they feel as if they already know the truth and aren’t very curious to learn about any facts that might contradict it. They and the members of groups that belong to their ideological coalition are true believers in each other’s agendas. “

And this:

“The administration has developed a highly effective propaganda machine to imbed in the public mind mythologies that grow out of the one central doctrine that all of the special interests agree on, which — in its purest form — is that government is very bad and should be done away with as much as possible — except the parts of it that redirect money through big contracts to industries that have won their way into the inner circle.

For the same reasons they push the impression that government is bad, they also promote the myth that there really is no such thing as the public interest. What’s important to them is private interests. And what they really mean is that those who have a lot of wealth should be left alone, rather than be called upon to reinvest in society through taxes. “

Sounds JUST like what I wrote yesterday in Think Tanks!

The right has a comprehensive, coordinated network of advocacy organizations, working to change public attitudes, pushing an entire ideological framework that says there are “market solutions” to almost every problem. (Recently, as you know, they even pushed a market solution to terrorism – a “trading room” in the Pentagon where people would place bets on terrorist attacks.)

The right’s advocacy organizations advocate privatization, deregulation, and limiting government. Moderates and progressives need organizations that perform a similar function — to counter this right-wing ideological marketing effort.