The president’s allies were looking for vindication—but were led astray by their reliance on a closed information system.
Samuel Johnson once stood talking with James Boswell about a theory expressed by a certain Bishop Berkeley that the external world was made up entirely of representations. There was no reality, only beliefs. Disgusted, Johnson said: “I refute it thus!”—and aimed a kick at a nearby boulder.
The point being: You can believe what you want, but if you ignore the rocks, you’ll badly hurt your toe. The Republican world would do well to take this story to heart.
It’s another familiar story that conservatives have built themselves a closed information system. The system generates and repeats agreed fictions, and people are rewarded according to their ability to internalize, repeat, and embellish these fictions.