Voices of Reason began four years ago, a little over one year after the start of the Iraq War and six months before the U.S. presidential election. It was a time when terror alerts, “swift boat” attacks, and a blind American nationalism were at their peak. The U.S. had yet to experience the full extent of the incompetence of the Bush Administration: its complete misreading of the Iraqi insurgency, its inability to protect New Orleans and its citizens, an economic policy that would lead to record debt and a looming recession.
But reason is making a comeback.
As if awakening from a stupor, Americans of all political persuasions are starting to think more clearly and to demand rational discourse on a host of issues. Things that were once too politically sensitive to demand much attention are now front and center; political correctness is beginning to give way to an honest examination of the facts; and anti-intellectualism appears to be in retreat.
Just last week, Newt Gingrich gave a major address at the American Enterprise Institute in response to Obama’s speech on race in America. While I don’t agree with much of what the former Speaker said, and his speech was not given in as humble a manner as professed, it was definitely a sign of the times that someone as prominent as Gingrich would tell a hardcore conservative audience that they needed to take Senator Obama’s words seriously.
And for all of the criticism leveled at the blogosphere, the internet has shown an amazing power to give voice to thousands of perspectives and to provide an alternative to the pundits who for so long have dominated Americans' access to information. In my judgment this has contributed tremendously to American political discourse; Voices of Reason is just one small voice in this great and dynamic conversation.
None of this is to suggest that somehow we have found the solution to all of our problems. But we do have an opening: there is a sense of possibility in the air, and sense that we may be on the verge of something new, profound, and potentially decisive. It is my hope that this small forum can continue to contribute to America's march toward reason and help us to seize this great opportunity.
In this spirit, it would be much appreciated if each of you could invite five people to this site, and ask them to invite five more. And if you have any suggestions for future topics, please let me know.
Thanks for all your comments and feedback; may we still be going strong many years from now, looking back at the beginning of a great period in American (and world) history.