To me the only thing more frightening than Al Gore’s book “Earth in
the Balance” is that he reportedly believes the stuff in it. There’s
another thing about it, though, that bothers me even more.
I confess that when I bought the book I expected sensationalism and
doomsday alarmism, but I did not anticipate the sweeping scope of the
book and what it apparently reveals about Gore.
The most noteworthy thing about it is Gore’s breathtaking
presumptuousness and audacity. He essentially holds himself out as a
Renaissance man. He is a sociologist, a psychologist, a child
psychologist, an historian, a philosopher, a theologian, a
meteorologist, a climatologist, a molecular biologist, a marine
biologist, a chemist, an agronomist, a physicist, an economist, a
conservationist, an anthropologist, a zoologist, a nutritionist, an
ecologist, an engineer, a scuba diver and a politician — I’ll give him
that one. The only thing he takes more seriously than the “environmental
crisis” is himself.
(As an aside, I now understand why he had trouble identifying the
bust of Thomas Jefferson. He has a Jefferson impairment. In the book,
historian Gore incorrectly describes Thomas Jefferson as a framer of the
Constitution in Philadelphia. Jefferson was in Paris throughout the
Being a man of many disciplines, Gore feels free to intermix the
various ones in his analysis of mankind’s hopeless condition. For
example, wearing his child psychologist hat, he observes that the
children of dysfunctional families blame themselves as the cause of the
family’s dysfunction. Donning his ecological headgear, he concludes that
our environmental crisis is so severe that our civilization itself is
dysfunctional. Completing the analogy, he applies the model of the
dysfunctional family to mankind’s relationship to the environment.
Largely because of the scientific revolution, says Gore, man has
become separated from nature. That separation has caused much pain
because “Just as the children in a dysfunctional family experience pain
when their parent leads them to believe that something important is
missing from their psyches, we surely experience a painful loss when we
are led to believe that the connection to the natural world that is part
of our birthright as a species is something unnatural. …”
To avoid feeling this pain, we developed an addiction “to the
consumption of the earth itself. This addictive relationship distracts
us from the pain of what we have lost: a direct experience of our
connection to the vividness, vibrancy and aliveness of the rest of the
natural world.” Is this scary, or do you suppose that I have the jitters
just because Halloween is approaching?
Gore’s book is simply too rich for a little 700-word column — the
psychobabble too extensive to treat thoroughly. So, let me leave you
with just a few closing thoughts.
We all know that Gore stands by every word of his book. We also know
that he has proposed far-reaching new governmental largesse that would
threaten to bankrupt even this robust economy and its astronomical
projected surpluses. As horrifying as his campaign spending proposals
are to conservatives, they pale in comparison to his blueprint for
government expansion (his Global Marshall Plan) set out in the book.
Don’t you think it is reasonable to believe that if this hapless
nation elects him he will do a bait and switch like none we’ve ever
witnessed in the history of this planet? If he truly believes that our
civilization is facing a crisis that can be remedied only by the
draconian solutions prescribed in his book, then it’s safe to assume he
will do everything within his power to implement those strategies.
In the process, he would inflate the size of the federal government
immeasurably while reducing its sovereignty in relation to foreign
nations. He would declare war on corporations and technology. He would
enact a program that would use schoolteachers and their students to
monitor the entire earth daily.
The book reveals that Gore is a man in search of a crisis, a
catastrophe, the apocalypse. He is a man obsessed with a cult-like
zealotry, centered on a near pantheistic worship of nature.
When you couple Gore’s desperate efforts to find inner-meaning during
the campaign (the incessant lies where he makes himself the hero of
every story) with his incredible self-elevation in this
book, you must genuinely wonder whether Al Gore himself is in balance.