When a new right-wing website, The Washington Free Beacon, launched in February, Matthew Continetti, its 30-year-old editor-in-chief, kicked off the proceedings with an aggressive manifesto titled “Combat Journalism.” The essay laid out the history of conservative alienation from the mainstream media, which Continetti referred to as the “wolf pack” or, borrowing a line from Tony Blair, “the feral beast.” Conservatives, Continetti argued, had been outplayed by a host of institutions on the left, like the Center for American Progress (CAP) and MoveOn, which are better at promoting their views t
In 1984, Ron Paul ran for the United States Senate. It was an audacious gamble. Paul, who represented Texas’s twenty-second congressional district, had to give up his safe House seat to compete in the state’s Republican Senate primary.
One day, a couple months ago, I set out to define what I called the conservative movement's "misinformation feedback loop," the process by which right-wingers repeat falsehoods back and forth, not paying attention to corrections because those corrections are made by untrusted figures from outside the movement Somehow my deft phrase failed to catch on. A mere two days later, Julian Sanchez called the phenomenon "epistemic closure" -- a phrase no doubt devised by high-priced Madison Avenue firms and tested repeatedly upon focus groups -- and he set the blogging world on fire.
Conservatives are finally striking back in the great epistemic closure debate! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain. Libertarian-ish blogger Julian Sanchez has been writing about the conservative movement's descent into epistemic closure, or a hermetically-sealed mental world in which only information provided by organs of the conservative movement is trusted.
Julian Sanchez has been writing about the right's tendency toward "epistemic closure" -- an intellectual world in which the only trustworthy sources of information are those within your movement. Sanchez is libertarian-ish, but clearly argues that this is primarily a right-wing phenomenon: I’m often tempted to pluck some instances from the left just to show how very fair-minded and above the fray I am.
Having quoted Julian Sanchez earlier, let me quote another excerpt from a very smart post of his. Sanchez argues that conservatives are so determined to discredit internal dissidents because those dissidents are especially dangerous to their system of epistemic closure: One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News.
One of the persistent memes of conservative discourse is that any right-of-center figure who deviates from the right-wing line must be searching for the financial and social rewards of mainstream respectability.
In this week's Weekly Standard, Matthew Continetti laid out the usual case for the administration's position in the FISA debate. Julian Sanchez has a thorough, point-by-point rebuttal that's well worth your time. He highlights one new development of which I hadn't been aware: We now have confirmation from the top national security lawyer at Justice that, as experts on FISA have been saying all along, foreign-to-foreign wire and radio conversations have never been and are not now subject to FISA. There is, rather, a limited problem with e-mails sent by a target that end up stored on a U.S.