That, however, would be a neat trick for a politician who once wrote a book (Earth in the Balance) calling for “a bold effort to change the very foundation of our civilization.” Apparently, you won’t see the aforementioned quote on campaign bumper‐stickers anytime soon.
You see, according to Earth in the Balance, modern American society — the status quo — is built upon a foundation of mental illness. Really. In a remarkable chapter titled “Dysfunctional Civilization,” Gore argues that the modern world is built upon exaltation of reason above all things, which has fostered an unhealthy belief that man is a “disembodied intellect” separate and distinct from the world of nature. The psychological pain and loneliness caused by this warped cultural belief, according to Gore, leads us to consume the world whole in a desperate attempt to “distract 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.”
Accordingly, Gore calls the our consumption habits an “addiction.” Civilization is termed clinically “dysfunctional.” His opponents are in psychological “denial.” The politically ambivalent electorate has grown psychologically numb in order to “anesthetize their conscience.” Social leaders such as businessmen, marketers, and politicians are called “enablers.” In sum, society is sick, and only a therapist‐in‐chief can cure it. Stuart Smalley, meet the Unibomber.