Historians in the future (assuming anybody survives) will call this era the “De-Enlightenment” and describe how civilization crashed and burned, triggering a new dark age.
I had an interesting conversation last night with a fellow critic of President Trump’s. He was irritated that I had insisted that those watching the Comey situation remain “skeptical but not hysterical.” Now, he said, is “the time to be hysterical.”
I’ve been trying to understand why he was so vexed, and I think I’ve worked it out: He has assumed — and built into his thinking — that there is a huge Russia scandal in the background of all this. And I haven’t. I certainly think it’s possible that this goes deeper, and I remain as mistrustful toward this administration as I ever was. But I’m not going to credit theories about Watergate-level conspiracies without evidence, and my friend is. That’s the line that divides us.
That being so, his approach makes sense. If, like my friend, you are convinced that Trump is guilty and that we are just waiting for the smoking gun, you will work backwards from that point and conclude that Trump is obviously getting in the way of the investigation, and that this is obviously Watergate. If you aren’t sure that there is a big scandal looming, you’re likely to be circumspect and happy to watch it play out as a process.
Once upon a time some of the smartest men on the planet pondered and argued about the meaning of “truth” and searched for empirical facts. We’re post-truth now.
Did Trump collude with Russia? Why was Comey fired? Is gender “fluid?” Was Trayvon murdered? Did Mike Brown have his hands up? Is Hillary the rightful President? Is global warming real?
It doesn’t matter. The facts are irrelevant. No investigation will suffice to put the matter to rest. Nobody cares about truth anymore.
The only thing that matter is which side you are on. Are you with us? Or are you with them?
When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man’s moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides? – Mark Twain