David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Oct. 25, 2018 1 min read

I'm old enough to remember, back in the '90s & early '00s, when it took the right wing whole *days* to collectively convince itself of something absurd. (Like, oh, the Clintons had Vince Foster killed.) It would start on fringe sites & forwarded emails ...

... and then work its way up the ecosystem, eventually getting big enough of conservative media that cons could start asking, "why isn't the MSM covering this?" Then legitimate news sites would dutifully go "cover the controversy." Once it was a Controversy ...

... that basically gave everyone in the base permission to believe it. It was, after all, their "side" in a legitimate controversy! Anyway, I watched this process play out dozens of times -- it's how "climategate" & "fast & furious" & various other pseudo-scandals happened.

What's different now is that the entire base seems to have been trained so well that the right just skips the first several steps of the process -- finding contextless bits of "evidence" the MSM is allegedly ignoring, slowly building up conspiracy theories -- & skips to the end.

Like these bombs. If you've watched US politics for a while, you knew it was *inevitable* that the RW would convince itself the bombs are fake. That is what they need to believe to advance their tribal interests, and so that's where they'd end up. But what's remarkable ...

... is that there wasn't even a pretense of gathering or evaluating evidence. Not even 24 hours passed. They needed to believe the bombs were fake, so they just ... did. No pretense of any epistemological process, just a naked act of will. And it was *easy*. Frictionless.

I don't have any grand or novel conclusion here. It's just amazing how far the right's epistemic closure has proceeded. The distinction between inquiry & will has entirely vanished. They decide what to believe & then believe it, collectively, like a single organism. It's creepy.


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