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NCDD-DISCUSSION  June 2007, Week 3

NCDD-DISCUSSION June 2007, Week 3

Subject:

Gore's Book on Democratic Discourse

From:

Stephen Buckley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Stephen Buckley <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:32:44 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

Dear NCDDers (et al.),

I have been wanting to raise a topic for discussion but, as a relatively 
new subscriber to this listserv (subscribed in early May), I thought it 
best to hang back for awhile so that I could get a better sense of what the 
group likes to talk about.  Now that I've done that, here's what I would 
like you to consider:

It's been about a month since the release of Al Gore's new book "The 
Assault on Reason" in which he argues that there has been a significant, 
and dangerous, decline in the quality of public discourse in our American 
democracy.

Considering Mr. Gore's success in raising the issue of "global warming" 
(albeit after 30 years of trying), I was expecting at least a few comments 
here recognizing that this as a golden opportunity to try to do the same 
thing for the subject of "dialogue and deliberation".  But nobody did, so 
after awhile, I figured I'd pipe up about it.

Now, a couple of days ago, I did notice that, to her credit, Sandy 
Heierbacher did recognize this potential when she posted something last 
month on one of the NCDD web-logs (but not posted to this listserv):

>Al Gore’s New Book on Democratic Discourse
>It’s been out for two days and it’s already #3 on Amazon.com. Al Gore’s 
>new book “The Assault on Reason” focuses on the way we debate and decide 
>on the critical issues of the day. This a major opportunity for our 
>field…are we ready to respond?

Now, before you click on the link to that posting (below) along with 
subsequent links to the book, etc., I want you to know that, although this 
listserv (NCDD-Discussion) may, in fact, be the 
Most-Appropriate-Place-on-the-Internet for a *general* discussion of the 
issue, I have created a separate listserv for those among the 600 
subscribers here who would like to discuss it --but in more more depth and 
detail.

So, while I am very interested in seeing this group's *general* 
comments/suggestions, I invite anyone to join me in what amounts to an 
"adjoining room" so that we can discuss, in more detail, various ways of 
addressing the issue of poor democratic discourse.

And, yes, I know that Al Gore did not invent this issue, any more than he 
did the Internet and global warming.  Michael Briand, for example, is one 
among many who has been talking about this problem for years.  (Michael's 
writing makes me wonder if he isn't Gore's "ghost-writer".)
http://www.iap2.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=190

So, by having a separate discussion, the larger group will be spared all 
the email traffic, but the sub-group can still come back, later, with ideas 
in order to get the larger group's reaction and wisdom.

========================================
Here is the link to Sandy's web-log posting (May 24, 2007), partially 
quoted above:
http://thataway.org/index.php/?p=866
(FYI: The link to Amazon.com has "forums" to discuss the book.  They are 
great examples of what happens when online discussion is unmoderated.)
========================================

TO JOIN the moderated email-discussion on issues raised
in Al Gore's new book ("The Assault on Reason"),
send a blank message by electronic
mailto:[log in to unmask]

NOTE:  This invitation is not limited to NCDDers.
Feel free to forward this message to any others who you think may interested.

========================================

AND, at this point, you may be thinking "Who IS this guy?" and "Why waste 
time joining another unfocused online discussion that goes nowhere?"  So 
here it goes:

I am someone who has been participating in online discussions for almost 20 
years.  As a federal employee in the environmental field, I also have 
professional experience in public participation relating to federal 
decisionmaking (five different agencies over my 25 years in D.C.).

In 1993, I created and then moderated a listserv on V.P. Gore's 
"reinventing government" effort (REGO-L) that eventually grew to over 1,000 
subscribers.  (And that was *before* most people had even heard of the 
Internet.)  So I do know how to keep down the message traffic without 
compromising the quality of discussion.

I look forward to reading this group's thoughts about my suggestions.  If 
you wish, you may also contact me directly to share your thoughts and 
suggestions.

sincerely,

Stephen Buckley
Chatham, Mass.
H/O: 508-945-0518
http://www.UStransparency.com

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