At the time George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11. Voters in Ohio, when asked by pollsters to list what stuck in their minds about the 2004 presidential campaign, most frequently named two Bush television ads that played to fears of terrorism.

We live in an age when the 30-second television spot is the most powerful force shaping the electorate’s thinking, and America is in the hands of an administration less interested than any previous administration in sharing the truth with the citizenry. Of even greater concern is this administration’s disinterest in the process by which the truth is ascertained, the tenets of fact-based reasoning–first among them an embrace of open inquiry, in which unexpected and even inconvenient facts can lead to unexpected conclusions.

How did we get here? Al Gore’s goal is to explain how the public sphere itself has evolved into a place hospitable to reason’s enemies; to make us more aware of the forces at work on our own minds; and to lead us to an understanding of what we can do, individually and collectively, to restore the rule of reason and safeguard our future. Drawing on a life’s work in politics as well as on the work of experts across a broad range of disciplines, Al Gore gives us a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking.
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