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Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt

March 26th, 2010 · 208 Comments

Amid the buzz over David Frum’s recent ouster from the American Enterprise Institute, some folks have linked back to this old post on the now-hoary trope that heterodox conservatives are simply angling for invitations to the fabled Georgetown Cocktail Parties. There’s a certain irony here in that Frum himself is no stranger to attacking the motives of deviationist conservatives. Just a few years back he was suggesting that paleoconservative opponents of the war in Iraq had progressed from”hating their party and their president” to “hating their country.” And I’m not sure this quite counts as a pattern, but it’s interesting to me to note that Andrew Sullivan, similarly derided as an apostate for his increasingly harsh criticism of the current state of the conservative movement, was back then in very much the same business, denouncing those he regarded as insufficiently fervent about the war on terror as a “fifth column”. I doubt this is accidental. Both men, I’m inclined to suspect, may in part be directing their fiercest critiques at some echo of their own past selves. (Aren’t we always most irritated by the people who remind us of our own least favorite traits?)

In the original post I suggested that the cocktail party attack itself might be a form of projection on the part of folks who are, at some level, acutely aware that their own careers depend on hewing pretty close to a party line. But I think there’s something else going on here too. 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. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!)  This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile. Think of the complete panic China’s rulers feel about any breaks in their Internet firewall: The more successfully external sources of information have been excluded to date, the more unpredictable the effects of a breach become. Internal criticism is then especially problematic, because it threatens the hermetic seal. It’s not just that any particular criticism might have to be taken seriously coming from a fellow conservative. Rather, it’s that anything that breaks down the tacit equivalence between “critic of conservatives and “wicked liberal smear artist” undermines the effectiveness of the entire information filter.  If disagreement is not in itself evidence of malign intent or moral degeneracy, people start feeling an obligation to engage it sincerely—maybe even when it comes from the New York Times. And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation. A more intellectually secure conservatism would welcome this, because it wouldn’t need to define itself primarily in terms of its rejection of an alien enemy.

To prevent breach, the internal dissident needs to be resituated in the enemy camp. The Cocktail Party move serves this function particularly well because it simultaneously plays on the specific kind of cultural ressentiment that so much conservative rhetoric now seems designed to stoke. Because it’s usually not just a tedious charge of simple venality—of literally “selling out” to fetch better-paying speaking gigs or book deals.  You can clearly make a damn good living as a staunch conservative, after all, and Bruce Bartlett doesn’t exactly talk as though he’s gotten a big income boost out of his apostasy. No, the insinuation is always that they’re angling for respectability, because even “one of us” might be tempted by the cultural power of the enemy elites, might ultimately value their approval more than that of the conservative base. It’s a much deeper sort of purported betrayal, because it’s a choice that would implicitly validate the status claims of the despised elite. You’re supposed to feel as though you’ve been snubbed socially—discarded for “better” company—which evokes both more indignant rejection of the quisling and  further resentment of the liberal snobs who are visiting this indignity on you.  In a way it’s quite elegant, and you can see why it’s become as popular as it has.  But it’s fundamentally a symptom of insecurity—and a self-defeating one, because it corrodes the kind of serious discussion and reexamination of conservative principles and policies that might help produce a more self-assured movement.

Addendum: My friend Andrew Grossman writes to object:

Interesting, but you are much too dismissive of those who constitute “the contemporary conservative movement.” Do you really believe that Washington’s movementarian conservatives cloister themselves in conservative castles? Perhaps that’s true in the hinterlands—though I have seen it only rarely during my stint in Texas—but it is not in Washington. If nothing else, pretty much everyone goes to the same bars and trivia nights or, for the older set, charity fundraisers and (yes, generally) cocktail parties. I like the idea of “epistemic closure” for its explanatory power, but it is not an accusation I’d throw around lightly.
Andrew is absolutely right about conservative elites, and it’s part of what makes this line of attack so silly. The New York– and D.C.-based conservatives who staff the movement’s think tanks, magazines, and advocacy shops don’t in fact inhabit a different universe from their liberal counterparts.  They all read the New York Times and drink lattes and go to parties together. There’s some clustering, to be sure, but nobody acts like they really believe the folks on the other side are insidious hellspawn. The pose is for the benefit of the base, who—not because they’re conservative, but because they aren’t urban media professionals—are likely to draw on a narrower range of trusted news and opinion sources.

Tags: Art & Culture · Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media


       

 

208 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jared // Mar 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Wow. I think this is brilliant.

  • 2 Patrick // Mar 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Another brilliant post! You should write a book.

    David Frum is a troll. He probably isn’t even be aware of it. There’s nothing wrong with being a troll, they play an important ecosystem function, but sometimes you get banned, and sometimes you don’t deserve it. Frum has been asking for the ban hammer for a long time, and his response was perfectly timed when everyone was in a super angry mood. He wasn’t even that harsh!

    Anyways, I wish him the best of luck. Get back in the game and do it for the lulz Frum!

  • 3 Emilio Ballardo // Mar 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Crabs in a bucket, mate. Crabs in a bucket.

  • 4 “Epistemic closure”: David Sanchez on American Conservative Insularity « Prometheus Unbound // Mar 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    […] a comment » At his blog today, Julian Sanchez’s uses the phrase “epistemic closure” to describe […]

  • 5 Jesse Walker // Mar 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Both men, I’m inclined to suspect, may in part be directing their fiercest critiques at some echo of their own past selves.

    I suspect that’s true of Sullivan. I doubt it’s true of Frum. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he ever repudiated “Unpatriotic Conservatives.” Indeed, sometimes I get the impression that he just thinks the tea parties are yet more unpatriotic conservatives to be denounced.

  • 6 mike farmer // Mar 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Frum’s problem, from my point of view, much like progressives and conservatives filled with disgust of the “other side”, is that his disgust for the conservative base prevents intellectual honesty — it prevents a battle of ideas, because, it seems, the disgust is aimed at everything but ideas – as are the analyses of these rifts.

  • 7 Julian Sanchez // Mar 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Ideas have very little to do with these rifts.

  • 8 Cameron // Mar 26, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Mike,

    You seriously think Frum’s problem with the Conservative base stems from an unwillingness to engage in a “battle of ideas”? Really? He came out so strongly against Sarah Palin because he was afraid of losing the intellectual battle. Right.

  • 9 Mysteries Galore.com » Blog Archive » The Khan Dilemma by Ron Goodreau // Mar 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    […] Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt […]

  • 10 Nicholas Weininger // Mar 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I am going to start a mass political movement for cosmopolitan urbanites and call it “The Cocktail Party.”

  • 11 mike farmer // Mar 26, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    “Ideas have very little to do with these rifts.”

    Exactly

  • 12 mike farmer // Mar 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Cameron,

    Frum’s disgust prevents him from seriously embracing ideas from the conservative base which hve proven to be true — not all the ideas, mind you, but many, and that’s the point — we need to get to a point where we’re discussing ideas, not these silly divisions based on cocktail parties, geography, college degrees or inside or outside the Beltway. It’s a distraction the progressives are happy to exploit.

  • 13 ML // Mar 27, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Hi Julian, you really should write a book about this. Have you spent any time, if only as an observer, in the epistemically closed world of the right? I’m thinking that the book could begin with your description of an experiment — a week spent listening to Limbaugh, Hannity, and Glenn Beck on radio, watching Fox News, reading books like “Arguing with Idiots,” and trolling FreeRepublic. It would be eye-opening to describe what you see and hear.

  • 14 Tim Lee // Mar 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

    ML, that would be an interesting project, I’m pretty sure Julian doesn’t hate himself enough to do it.

  • 15 mike farmer // Mar 27, 2010 at 9:03 am

    ML,

    He might be converted and title the book – Heartin’ Palin in the Heartland: How I Went From Italian Loafers to Ostrich Skin Boots

  • 16 Ottovbvs // Mar 27, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Julian this is a brilliant piece of analysis. I really is. I’ve kept it and printed off a copy. It should be compulsory reading for conservatives who are trying put a ring fence around the movements philosophy.

  • 17 DivisionByZero // Mar 27, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I love “epistemic closure”. Is that an original? If so, it’s right up there with “one-way hash argument”.

    One counterpoint to Andrew Grossman, well, actually two: 1) Sarah Palin; 2) The Tea Party.

    Everyone has known forever that party elites say all of the right things to their base to get them fired up and then go about the business of governing when they get to Washington. But the internet (I’d argue) has changed all of that. Television made it hard to maintain this duplicity but the internet makes it impossible. You can’t say one thing in Kansas and do another in Washington anymore. So, these beasts that the elites have been feeding will soon devour them.

    Notice that it is increasingly impossible to get elected as a Republican unless you truly represent the ideas of the base. Why do you think Sarah Palin is so popular? Why do you think the Tea Party got started? I’d say that a good 75% of Americans treat Sarah Palin and the Tea Party with equal derision but that puts the Republican Party in a tight spot.

    It was clear with McCain’s campaign that the Republicans needed to re-center their party on the libertarian part of the party and away from the christian fundamentalist part in order to pick up votes in the middle or they risk fracturing the party with libertarians going off on their own. And with the recent rise in popularity of the Libertarian party that just might happen.

  • 18 DivisionByZero // Mar 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I’d also like to add that Republicans have a huge opportunity in the fall but if they keep trying to keep the Palinites and the Tea Baggers on-board rather than moving hewing to the small government, freedom, and fiscal responsibility position of the libertarians the Democrats will be able to pick off center right folks who are disgusted by the manifest stupidity of Palin and the Tea Party.

  • 19 Emily // Mar 27, 2010 at 11:53 am

    “And there is nothing more potentially fatal to the momentum of an insurgency fueled by anger than a conversation.”

    Gods-DAMN, boy. This whole post is some kinda 100% truth, not from concentrate.

  • 20 P.M. Jaworski // Mar 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    This is probably a nice analysis of any out-of-the-mainstream ideological group, applied to conservatives in this case thanks to Frum.

    I found myself thinking of some of my fellow libertarians, who insist on the same kind of rigidity, and suffer from epistemic closure just as surely as some conservatives do. Similarly with my more left liberal friends.

    Is there any reason to believe that this is an epistemic bug that infects conservatives only, or primarily?

  • 21 Julian Sanchez // Mar 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    ML-
    I’m flattered, but what Tim said. I don’t know how long I’d last before I put forks in my eyes. Anyway, Dave seems to have the tea party beat covered, and he’ll surely do a book of his own at some point—for which I’m happy to loan any thoughts he hasn’t had himself already.

    Peter-
    Yeah, I think everyone’s clearly susceptible to it to varying degrees, but media architecture plays a big role. To the extent that what I’ve got in mind here is a full-blown, self-contained media ecosystem, there are chunks of the right that happen to be further along right now. Self-conscious libertarians are probably just too few in number to sustain anything equivalent, and progressives are more prone to to try to work within the mainstream media than set up a comprehensive counterestablishment.

    Are there specifically ideological reasons the right is more prone to it generally? Probably not if you’re talking about conservatism per se. But the particular strain of anti-intellectual populism in the saddle at the moment surely makes it easier.

  • 22 Julian Sanchez // Mar 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    DivisionByZero-
    I think I’m with you until the last paragraph, which seems like a case of pundit’s fallacy, though I’d love if it were true too.

    And actually, I wasn’t sure exactly where “epistemic closure” came from—it just seemed like the apt phrase when I was writing. Google reminds me that it actually comes from philosophy of logic, where it has a fairly technical meaning, but roughly, it means you’ve drawn all possible inferences from your premise set. Probably it had been rattling around the back of my head since college.

  • 23 Ottovbvs // Mar 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    “DivisionByZero // Mar 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I’d also like to add that Republicans have a huge opportunity in the fall”

    ……This is largely an illusion as Frum and other more level headed conservatives are starting to realize…….Sure the pendulum swing against the incumbent govt, and maybe incumbents as a species, will be in operation and will likely cost the Dems some seats particularly in the house but this does not feel like a wave year and so as is usually the case the outcome will depend on intensity levels (which are always generated in the two months before voting) and general perceptions of economic progress, presidential competence, local politics, etc etc……Paradoxically any seat losses the Dems experience are likely to homogenize their representation.

  • 24 DivisionByZero // Mar 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Julian and Ottovbvs,

    Yeah, fair enough. The last paragraph was kind of a throw-away. It was more of a hope than a prognostication.

  • 25 mike farmer // Mar 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I wrote a response to this at Bonzai

    http://bonzai.squarespace.com/blog/2010/3/27/julian-sanchez-a-stubborn-misunderstanding.html

  • 26 ML // Mar 28, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Hi Julian,

    There’s a good article by Cass Sunstein that explains why people go to extremes when they talk only to like-minded peers. It’s a tendency called “group polarization.” You’ve described it well as it occurs on the right: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/91.CRS_.Polarization.pdf

  • 27 mike farmer // Mar 28, 2010 at 12:16 am

    ML,

    What is the difference between the right problem and the left problem? Is it not just a problem with any group-think that filters out conflicting information? My God, when I visit left blogs or watch MSNBC or read the latest article by a progressive professor or suffer the latest profound speech from a Hollywood genius, I’m stunned by the reality of group-think. Is this a human problem or a right-wing phenomenon?

  • 28 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 9:14 am

    “Epistemic closure” reminds me of Kierkegaard’s “enclosing reserve” except perhaps only in the intellectual register rather than both the the intellect and the imagination. Or maybe not. It’s been years since I’ve read Kierkegaard.

  • 29 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Mike Farmer, I read your response to Julian. Your point basically boils down to: How could Julian possibly know whether all of these conservatives that seem to suffer from “epistemic closure” are not really fairly bright people who have thought through the issues at hand and have come to a different conclusion from the “elites”.

    That’s a nice and egalitarian sentiment but it’s wrong. Here’s why. Most of the people suffering from “epistemic closure” demonstrate a pathological inability to accept what are generally considered facts (e.g. Obama’s birth certificate). The most natural interpretations are ignored without counter-evidence in preference to a fixed idea (e.g. an atheistic, communist conspiracy). One can argue about “facts” but the fact is that there are things one generally call facts and to special case them because one doesn’t like the implication seems a little perverse.

    To be fair, this happens on the left as well but it’s less common because folks on the left tend to be better educated. Note that doesn’t mean more intelligent but more accustomed to fact based inquiry and self-directed learning. I am not even remotely suggesting that liberals are smarter than conservatives or any such nonsense I’m just noting a difference in method.

  • 30 mike farmer // Mar 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

    DivisionByZero,

    Do you have any proof to support your theory? If by left and right, you are reducing these distinctions to the extremes on both sides, I’d say both use the same method of filtering facts which conflict with their ideology. It’s a feature of radicalism, and one that is present on the extremes of both left and right. If you are comparing the radical right with the whole of those who could be described as left of center, then that’s an unfair comparison.

  • 31 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Mike Farmer, the radical right makes up a much larger percentage of the right than the radical left does of the left. I guess we can get into the semantics of “radical” but I’ll try to find suitable numbers.

  • 32 Julian Sanchez // Mar 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    ML-
    I’m familiar. Actually, I’ve got a huge blow-up of the cover photograph from Sunstein’s “Why Societies Need Dissent” hanging on the wall in my living room.

  • 33 Julian Sanchez // Mar 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Mike-
    Of course, everyone’s susceptible to what I’m talking about in principle. But as DBZ says, the “fringe” is now the core of the right. I can’t imagine what would establish it to your satisfaction in the space of a blog comment if it’s not already apparent.

  • 34 mike farmer // Mar 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Julian,

    Do you really see citizens concerned about the growth in government power and spending as “fringe”? Do you really think they spend much time worrying about their status in relation to the cultural elite? I, likewise, can’t imagine what would satisfy you if I haven’t already made it apparent in my responses.

  • 35 mike farmer // Mar 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    DivisioByZero,

    Yes, please find some numbers. It appears this is a subjective determination. And, yes, from what I’m reading here, a lot depends on what you consider “radical”. I don’t think Aunt June and Uncle Melvin atending a Tea Party rally in Tampa constitutes radical.

  • 36 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Mike Farmer, here’s an example:

    “57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim, 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president,” 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did.” Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”
    Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims….

    The full results of the poll [indicate] that high percentages of Republicans—and Americans overall—believe that President Obama is a “domestic enemy”…. It’s the same claim made by Marine Lance Corporal Kody Brittingham in his letter of intent to assassinate the President Obama.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/dailybeast/20100323/ts_dailybeast/7269_scarynewgoppoll

    Most of this is hysteria and/or just plain factually wrong. It’s terrifying really.

  • 37 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Mike Farmer, I think you are either naively or deliberately underestimating the extent of hate on the right. It’s on the left, too, but not as forcefully or grotesquely.

  • 38 DivisionByZero // Mar 28, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    More: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28rich.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1269820820-7XHlwNzf4TIf9wIqag4A0w

    This is an opinion piece but does cite statistics and studies.

  • 39 mike farmer // Mar 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    DivisionByZero,

    I won’t make any personal claims about those who take these statistics to be representative of those right of center. Did you look up statistics of those on the left who believe such things as Bush planning 9/11, or all the conspiracy theories involving Cheney — I never took those statistics to mean much. If you get out enough, you get a feel for people, and these statistics, regarding both left and right, don’t ring true at all in the context what most people believe. I’m ending my part of conversation — if it’s that important fo you to win, then, you win. The right is uneducated and zany, the left is mostly educated and objective. Got it.

  • 40 Julian Sanchez // Mar 29, 2010 at 1:57 am

    This is actually not a claim about the personal characteristics of people on the right. It’s a claim about the information dynamic of a set of institutions has gone awry. It doesn’t require conservatives to be bad or dumb people in general, and there’s no reason to think it can’t correct itself.

    I agree it’s hard to know how to read statistics about what people purport to believe, or how seriously to take them. The real proof in the pudding is the kind of claims that are taken seriously in conservative media and by Republican office holders. Flirtations with birtherism. Apocalyptic invocations of the Soviet gulag and the Holocaust. Visions of Death Panels. Conspiracy flowcharts on chalkboards. And less dramatically but more damagingly, an approach to journalistic accuracy that bespeaks not so much a deceptive intent as a simple indifference to truth. If I had a few hours to spend playing Snopes, I could run down the bill of particulars, but I don’t. I did a breakdown of the problems in Fox’s reporting on Patriot Act renewal a little while back, though, and the diligence on display there seems about par for the course. Everyone’s sloppy sometimes, of course, but I think if you pick a couple areas to research, and then track coverage, you’ll see a systemic difference.

    Alternatively, just consider that it’s somehow become totally normalized to sling around the word “Marxist” when talking about relatively moderate liberals. You may as well worry about the Golden Horde; the last surviving Marxists are all ear-tagged in nature preserves or greybeards at small liberal-arts colleges. The prospects for productive democratic discourse are dim if one side thinks the other is trying to launch the Fifth International.

  • 41 mike farmer // Mar 29, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Julian,

    I will make one more response on this subject. The term “relatively moderate” is what bothers me. There has been such a drift to the left that today’s moderately liberal was yesterday’s extreme statist. We accept more and more government intervention until it’s normalized, then we shift further until it’s normalized. This creates more resistance from anti-statists, and as the rsistance grows stronger they are framed as radical rightwing, out of touch with the new progressive mindset. All we have to do is look at the economy, which started going downhill wth statist policies enacted by Bush (a long time before, actually), now carried forward full speed with Obama and congress. The personal claims I was talking about related to DBZ calling me naive or deliberately deceitful. Of course there are extemes on the right, and the use of hyperbole has been over-used — but when we look at the dangers on the horizon if progressive policies aren’t stopped, the hyperbole doesn’t seem so out there. The 70s under Carter were bad enough for me — I don’t want to take a business through worse — it won’t survive. What I haven’ heard here is any criticism of progressive policies, so I’m left to assume you all believe the right is the biggest problem we face. The reaction from the right, to me, has been extreme at times, but I can understand the reaction in the face of statism on steroids. Just imagine what would happen without resistance. I’m not sure some of the people here understand the stakes involved.

  • 42 DivisionByZero // Mar 29, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Mike Farmer, I apologize for any personal claims. I just don’t know how to square our experiences. When you say: “There has been such a drift to the left that today’s moderately liberal was yesterday’s extreme statist.”I can only assume we live in very different environments. Most the people whom I know that are lefties are not any more left than they have been in years past. Perhaps given that the political fortunes of the left were ascendant you heard from them more but they have always been there. There has been no sea change in the tone on the left. In fact the left, much as is the case for the right now, was at its worst under Bush (e.g. 9/11 conspiracy theories, etc). I’d say a good 10% of the voting public (i.e. 20% of Democrats) probably fell into radical left category under Bush. Under Obama I’d say we are looking at 20% of the voting public (40% of Republicans) falling into the radical right category.

    Of course all of this is anecdotal and we can debate the validity of statistical studies, etc but really what would your standard of evidence be for accepting the above thesis? If we can’t settle on a standard of evidence, then it will be impossible to come to agreement because there will always be some grounds for doubt unless we constrain the discussion to certain bounds.

  • 43 Julian Sanchez // Mar 29, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I have to agree, I’m not sure in what universe it’s accurate to say that “today’s moderately liberal was yesterday’s extreme statist.” The leftmost edge of “mainstream” or respectable political discourse 40 or 50 years ago really *was* “socialism.” You can argue that we’ve drifted somewhat left on economic policy—though depending on what you take that to mean, there’s at least as strong a case in the opposite direction—but the scope of realistic debate has moved way to the right.

  • 44 mike farmer // Mar 29, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    In the 60s? John Kennedy would make a good Republican candidate today.

    You must mean under FDR, which I agree was very Statist, but before and after, not so much, until a short stint with LBJ, then Carter. Dring the time of Reagan, liberals regrouped and began moving the progressive agenda — now, it’s acceptable with at least haf the population for the State to do pretty much anything as long as the benefits keep flowing. Presently, we’re seeing the beginning of govenment intervention unlike anything since FDR. If you are calling Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Waxman, Connors, Waters, etc moderately liberal in the traditional sense, then we are definitely in separate universe — Tip O’Neil and Sam Nunn they aren’t.

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  • 46 DivisionByZero // Mar 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Well, it’s pretty nuanced depending on the issue, but after Reagan’s “success” real “socialism” is off the table. If you are equating state intervention with socialism, then I’d have to disagree. In fact, I’d say it’s a measure of how far to the right politics has gone that anyone equates the two (and many do). Socialism is a whole lot more than the government intervening in the economy. Even the Reagan administration intervened in the economy. Would you call Reagan a socialist?!?

  • 47 Barry // Apr 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

    A few comments – ‘epistemic closure’ doesn’t require physicial isolation. Watch Fox News, listen to AM talk radio, subscribe to right-wing publications, read right-wing websites, and one is there.

    Money helps – somebody was commenting about Jesse Ventura (?)a few years ago on ‘The View’ stating that the invasion of Iraq was for economic reasons. They stated that the other talking heads recoiled in horror and looked at him like he said something nasty. The reason, of course, was that people who say or agree with things like that tend to trash their careers – Huffington Post doesn’t pay like the networks.

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  • 50 shep // Apr 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    “The pose is for the benefit of the base…”

    In other words they’re lying.

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    […] Julian Sanchez: I’ve written a bit lately about what I see as a systematic trend toward “epistemic closure” in the modern conservative movement. As commenters have been quick to point out, of course, […]

  • 57 Marc Clauson // Apr 13, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    I fail to see what Julian sancez means by “epsitemic closure.” Epistemic relates to knowledge. Knowledge is justified or warranted, true belief. Now the conservatives do have warranted arguments (though not always articulated–but neither are the libersls, or socialists, or social democrats, etc.), even if not everyone accepts them. Whether their arguments are true requires further inverstigation–not criticism at that point. And as for belief, shouldn’t we “believe our beliefs”? I would be illogical if I didn’t believe what I think to be true. Let’s start a dialogue in which we all think first, then decide. Also, it seems that if Julian is going to accuse the Conservatives of closure–he seems to mean not just closure regarding beliefs but some kind of cultural closure–shouldn’t he also include the liberals, etc? I don’t believe, for example, that the Republicans were consulted in drafting the health care bill.

  • 58 A few data points for Jonah Goldberg | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen // Apr 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    […] last refuge of lazy bloggers, and I’ve tried manfully to avoid chiming in on the debate over “epistemic closure” and the conservative movement. But I can resist no longer; Jonah Goldberg has dragged me in. […]

  • 59 Orson // Apr 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    As a lifelong libertarian (and sometime LPer), I simply do not grasp Julian’s denial of the obvious (cf Mike Farmer):
    NEVER IN PEACETIME HAS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY AND DEBT GROWN SO FAST AND DANGEROUSLY!

    Any libertarian ought to know these numbers. Therefore I won’t quote chapter and verse.

    What about galloping statism (socialist or fascist-pick flavor) led by hard Left progs don’t you get, Julian!?!?!

  • 60 Simms // Apr 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Orson,

    What do you consider PEACETIME?

  • 61 The Conservative Mind, Circa 2010 - Ross Douthat Blog - NYTimes.com // Apr 16, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    […] are a few thoughts on the conversation that Julian Sanchez started with a post on the American right’s “epistemic closure” problem (i.e. the closing of the conservative mind), and which has subsequently been taken in all sorts of […]

  • 62 The Semipermeable Liberal Bubble « The Innocent Smith Journal // Apr 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    […] think tank American Enterprise Institute, subsequently fired him, prompting Julian Sanchez to opine that the conservatism has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality, Sanchez wrote is defined […]

  • 63 mike // Apr 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    This is a great and necessary discussion, though it is akin to playing with a computer virus- it’s easy to get infected.

    Perhaps the best way to approach this argument without falling into the left vs. right trap is to ask ourselves the following questions:

    Are my beliefs defined by my emotional reactions, by my favored media sources, or by thorough analysis of conflicting sources of information?

    Hypothetically, if my favored media sources were trying to manipulate my beliefs, how would I discover this? How would I characterize the nature and experience of messages (disregarding the actual content) designed to manipulate my beliefs as opposed to those that seek to inform.

    When I receive information that conflicts with my current set of beliefs, do I react with an emotional response and seek to destroy, discredit, or occlude the message, the messenger, and the sources of the message, or do I seek to understand the perspective of the message and the messenger as they represent themselves as a means of understanding the nature of the disagreement and becoming better informed as a result?

    Distrusting one another and being at each others throats does not serve our common interest- it reinforces the mechanisms of this “epistemic closure” and aids those who use this extremism to consolidate power by playing the “left” and the “right” off each other.

    Personally, I don’t think we should be allowed to graduate high school without a fully functioning BS detector (ie. successful completion of courses in critical thinking).

  • 64 Barak // Apr 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I noted that Andrew Sullivan quoted TNC’s comparison of him to Frum, but not yours. Hmmmm….

    Keep up the great work.

  • 65 Online Ideological Segregation and Epistemic Closure | Politics In Vivo - Political and Cultural Commentary, and Whatever Else... // Apr 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    […] a lot lately about the trend in the contemporary conservative movement toward what he terms "epistemic closure":  Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting […]

  • 66 The Greenroom » Forum Archive » What closing of the conservative mind? // Apr 21, 2010 at 12:33 am

    […] blogger Julian Sanchez recently wrote a post about the supposed closing of the conservative mind that got a lot of blog […]

  • 67 Epistemic Closure’s Literary Potential « Lunatic Llama // Apr 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    […] Epistemic Closure, Imperialism, Literature, Republicans, Sarah Palin | Julian Sanchez’s theory of “epistemic closure” occurring on the American right has attracted considerable […]

  • 68 A Coda on Closure // Apr 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    […] the past couple of weeks, a pair of posts I wrote about what I dubbed “epistemic closure” on the right kicked off a […]

  • 69 Wasted Years « If-By-Whiskey // Apr 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    […] in turn, of course, all ties back to Julian Sanchez’s “epistemic closure” […]

  • 70 Right Wing Nut House » THE CONSERVATIVE MATRIX VS. THE MACHINE WORLD // Apr 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

    […] post by Julian Sanchez started an internet conversation/debate on what he calls “epistemic closure” on the […]

  • 71 Egbert // Apr 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Small government? It ain’t gonna get smaller until you kill off the MIC. Any money ‘saved’ by cutting other arms will be sucked in by this vampire squid faster than you would believe.

  • 72 The Great Epistemic Closure Debate of 2010 - TV Guidance, Uncategorized - Macleans.ca // Apr 25, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    […] who was writing about the excommunication of David Frum from the conservative think tank AEI. Sanchez argued that this was part of a conservative move toward “epistemic closure,” meaning being […]

  • 73 Zombie Contentions - Adventures in Epistemic Opening – Manzi vs Levin and the Fate of Everything // Apr 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    […] phrase may be a bad one, and not just because it may be too fancy by half, but when Julian Sanchez applied it to the great body of American conservatism, he touched a nerve.  The claim that conservatives are caught in a kind of feedback loop of […]

  • 74 Zombie Contentions - Adventures in Epistemic Opening – Manzi vs Levin and the Fate of Everything // Apr 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    […] phrase may be a bad one, and not just because it may be too fancy by half, but when Julian Sanchez applied it to the great body of American conservatism, he touched a nerve.  The claim that conservatives are caught in a kind of feedback loop of […]

  • 75 The Greenroom » Forum Archive » ADVENTURES IN EPISTEMIC OPENING: Mark Levin vs Jim Manzi and the Fate of Everything // Apr 26, 2010 at 1:47 am

    […] may be a bad one, and not just because it may be too fancy by half, but when Julian Sanchez applied it to the great body of American conservatism, he touched a nerve.  The claim that conservatives are caught in a kind of feedback loop of […]

  • 76 Petr // Apr 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Andrew is absolutely right about conservative elites, and it’s part of what makes this line of attack so silly. The New York– and D.C.-based conservatives who staff the movement’s think tanks, magazines, and advocacy shops don’t in fact inhabit a different universe from their liberal counterparts. They all read the New York Times and drink lattes and go to parties together. There’s some clustering, to be sure, but nobody acts like they really believe the folks on the other side are insidious hellspawn.

    Yes… but isn’t that the clearest marker for ‘epistemic closure’?? That they can mix and mingle and know the other intimately without it making even the slightest dent in their world view?

    I mean, the knock against Dems and/or liberals is that they altogether to eager to at least consider, and possibly adopt, an idea or point of view, regardless of origin. Well, if I understand you correctly, that’s what you would consider ‘epistemically open’, that is to say the the converse of ‘epistemically closed’.

    I take it as given that a person who is both morally and intellectually healthy and honest would, upon intimate exposure to a wide variety of ideas, opinions, facts and world views, have a great deal of openness and present, in turn, a complex and evolving world view back into the mix… But to have a world view that is, apparently, immune to such intimacy, is, frankly, very very troubling.

  • 77 All the Talk About Epistemic Closure // Apr 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    […] you been paying attention to all the blog talk about epistemic closure? It seems that libertarian Julian Sanchez kicked off quote a firestorm of commentary in using this term to describe what is happening on the […]

  • 78 TMLutas // Apr 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    In the blogosphere, one can actually measure how epistemically closed an ideology is. The currency of connectedness is links to other sites and there is free software out there that will create brightly colored, easily interpreted linkage maps. It *is* true that the right is vulnerable to a charge of epistemic closure. But it is not alone. The left is an absolute mirror image, being just as self-referential and unwilling to address and link to arguments arising from the other side.

    There is hope. The sites most willing to connect both to the left and the right also seem to be those that attract the most traffic as a rule. It seems that while epistemic closure is popular as a strategy on the new media side at least, what is rewarded by the movement, left and right, is marshalling your best arguments to deal with the best arguments of the other side.

    That is a good thing.

  • 79 Jonathan Weiler: The Closing of the American (Right’s) Mind - Fox News Watchdog // Apr 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    […] original post on the subject laid out the basic argument: One of the more striking features of the contemporary […]

  • 80 Behind the Great Firewall of Denial: the conservative debate on “epistemic closure” and climate change « Watching the Deniers // Apr 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    […] the US conservative movement. A few weeks ago Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute kicked off a fire storm of debate about how conservatism in the US is being increasingly dominated by “fantasy”: […]

  • 81 Henry Shevlin // Apr 29, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Great post. However, as a former classicist, and thoroughgoing pedant, I would prefer the term ‘doxastic closure’ since we’re dealing with closed *beliefs* rather than closed knowledge. The term seems to be getting pretty entrenched, however…

  • 82 Left, Right, Lefter, and Kinda Left « Yet Another Cocktail Party // May 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    […] Sanchez ignited a debate on the right side of the political spectrum about what he sees as the “epistemic closure” occurring within conservative discourse.  Sanchez defines epistemic closure as the tendency of […]

  • 83 JPeden // May 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

    epistemic closure:

    Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!)

    The same can easily be said of “Liberals”. But the truth is that anyone who thinks in this convenient a priori, logically and empirically challenged way is not dealing with reality – including the Author:

    I mean, the knock against Dems and/or liberals is that they altogether to eager to at least consider, and possibly adopt, an idea or point of view, regardless of origin. Well, if I understand you correctly, that’s what you would consider ‘epistemically open’, that is to say the the converse of ‘epistemically closed’.

    Julian, your neat little pre-fab’d stereotyping boxes – here filled by only two anecdotes which allege to be typical of “Conservatives”, and then an appeal to a self-serving definitional Platitude as to what is “Liberal”and also an alleged “knock against liberals” – make you epistemically closed.

  • 84 Dear John… I Mean Republican Party « The Moral Machiavelli // May 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    […] anymore; we’ve drifted. Maybe it’s not you, it’s me. I just don’t think epistemic closure is my thing. I guess what I’m saying is that I think we should see other people; we should […]

  • 85 Here we go. – Tiptoeing and Backpedaling // May 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    […] Julian Sanchez has been at the center of one of the more productive conversations about the state of American right-wing media counterculture and, as usual, does a great job of explaining his reasonable position. I’m not really commenting on that conversation directly because, frankly, I pretty much agree with everything he’s saying, so why bother. I too am a libertarian that wishes people would behave more like tolerant liberals without all the big government tattle-tailing.  At the same time, this is another one of those situations where the liberaltarians will end up slowing to a halt, empty handed, without having accomplished much more than having made another interesting criticism of the way things have to be. It isn’t realistic to ask too much of the average person and so Rush Limbaugh and Naomi Klein being free to peddle their snake oil is the price we pay for living in a country whose government doesn’t have the power to tell you what to think. […]

  • 86 Barack Obama logra emocionar a Elvira Lindo, pero hay emociones mejores | Obamaworld // May 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    […] la cerrazón republicana. Julián Sánchez fue el primero y encontró un término filosófico que resumía la situación conservadora y tuvo éxito: “epistemic closure”, que significa algo así […]

  • 87 Old Topic Update — The Future of Conservatism « Civilized Conversation // May 13, 2010 at 12:46 am

    […] become self-isolating and harmful to the party’s long-term health.  I highly recommend both his original post and his […]

  • 88 Matt X // May 21, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Written By: James M. Taylor
    Publication date: 05/14/2010
    Publisher: The Heartland Institute

    ——————————————————————————–

    National Review Online contributing editor Jim Manzi, in an April 21 post, uses Mark Levin’s book Liberty and Tyranny as an example of conservative writers (quoting Ross Douthat) “offering bromides instead of substance, and … pandering instead of grappling with real policy questions.” I think he’s wide of the mark.

    Although I believe the science clearly supports “skeptics” in the global warming debate, conservatives and libertarians can believe in alarmist global warming claims without giving up their conservative and libertarian credentials, just as liberals can be “skeptics” without giving up their liberal credentials. The fact that a conservative might believe we are facing a global warming crisis should not necessarily come as a surprise, but the specific arguments made by Manzi are disingenuous.

    The global warming debate should be decided on the basis of science and economics rather than politics. If there were plausible arguments for each side of the scientific issue, and if people based their opinions on science rather than political convenience, one would expect each side of the debate to have adherents from all ideological persuasions.

    This has proven true of global warming “skeptics.” As the organizer of four international conferences on climate change, I have had the pleasure of meeting scientists and concerned citizens from a wide range of ideological backgrounds who share my own view that humans are not creating a global warming crisis. Two of the most passionate skeptics at these conferences have been Richard Courtney, a socialist from the United Kingdom who is an expert reviewer for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Lawrence Solomon, an author and lifelong environmental activist from Canada.

    I have also had the pleasure of meeting and discussing global warming with legislators – both Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal – who also believe humans are not causing a global warming crisis.

    In contrast to the diversity of thought among skeptics, true believers in global warming alarmism tend to be overwhelmingly liberal. This isn’t because conservatives and libertarians are stupid or refuse to think seriously about the issue. It’s because if manmade global warming were indeed a crisis, its cause would be capitalism and its solution would be an all-powerful central government. Liberals happily skip over all the missing links in the argument – the dubious science, whether government action would stop or delay climate change, and whether it would be worth the expense – and jump to this conclusion.

    Conservatives and libertarians, having seen this skit before, are more likely to pause and demand evidence and explanations. They quickly find evidence that the “attribution” issue is still unresolved, that reducing emissions is unlikely to have any effect on climate, and that cap and trade programs are vehicles for massive fraud. Only a few conservatives “don’t get it,” which brings us back to Mr. Manzi.

    At first, Manzi says his chief complaint about Liberty and Tyranny is:

    “Levin does not attempt to answer this question [whether carbon dioxide affects temperature levels] by making a fundamental argument that proceeds from evidence available for common inspection through a defined line of logic to a scientific view. Instead, he argues from authority by citing experts who believe that the answer to this question is pretty much no. Who are they? An associate professor of astrophysics, a geologist, and an astronaut.”

    This is unfair to Levin and, by extension, to others in the global warming debate who sometimes choose to write about the issue without delving into the science. The science is there for anyone who wants to read it, from Anthony Watts’ excellent Web site at http://www.wattsupwiththat.com to the 880-page Climate Change Reconsidered, a chapter-by-chapter rebuttal of the latest IPCC reports with more than 4,000 footnotes. Not every book by a conservative or libertarian that comments on global warming needs to provide a summary of this scientific research. And it’s pretty fair to guess that if Levin had done so, Manzi would have nit-picked him apart anyway.

    Manzi doesn’t bother to identify who the professor, geologist, and astronaut who Levin cites are, so allow me. The associate professor of astrophysics is Nir Shaviv, one of the most accomplished solar physicists in the world. He has already been published many times in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and has forever made his mark in the world of solar physics by redefining landmark principles of stellar gravitation and radiation known as Eddington luminosity. Shaviv used to believe carbon dioxide was the primary driver of global warming, but in recent years has published groundbreaking research showing solar activity and cosmic rays may be more important factors.

    Dudley J. Hughes, the geologist, is a recipient of the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumni Award, which according to Texas A&M University, “is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University.” He is a recipient of the Texas A&M Geosciences and Earth Resources Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a recognized expert regarding earth sciences and carbon dioxide, and authored the 1998 book, A Geologic Reinterpretation of the Earth’s Atmospheric History, Inferring a Major Role by CO2.

    Phil Chapman, the astronaut, is a scientist with a degree in physics and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worked as a science researcher in Antarctica, a staff physicist at MIT, and a propulsion scientist at the Avco Everett Research Laboratory. He worked closely with the inventor of the solar power satellite, and contributed to NASA research on power in space. Oh, and amidst all these scientific accomplishments, he also found time to be an astronaut.

    Manzi is either ignorant of the scientific accomplishments of these three scientists, or sought to score a cheap point by taking advantage of uninformed readers.

    Manzi then criticizes Levin for citing the Oregon Petition, signed by more than 31,000 scientists. He says its phrasing is “dodgy,” but it’s hard to imagine a more explicit denunciation of global warming alarmism than the petition, whose signers say they “reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposal” and state “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” I’ll return to the “dodgy” claim in a moment.

    Manzi says “more than 20,000 of these ‘scientists’ lack PhDs in any field.” This is an odd if not misleading way to admit that more than 9,000 signatories have PhDs, and another 7,000 have Masters in Science degrees. That is more than 16,000 scientists with advanced degrees in science. The remainder are mere “scientists” with standard degrees in science. This seems quite impressive to me.

    Manzi claims “there was very little quality control” exercised during the collection of signatures for the petition, and “at least one person signed it as Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.” A call or email to Arthur Robinson and his colleagues would have laid this myth to rest, as well as shown some gratitude to the volunteers who invested thousands of hours in the Petition Project. They have long insisted and documented the fact that they vigorously follow up on and verify the identity and credentials of all signatories.

    Robinson is quick to admit that global warming alarmists sometimes submit forged signatures in an attempt to discredit the Petition. This is similar to the documented efforts of Tea Party opponents to slip moles into Tea Party rallies with misspelled signs and racist rhetoric in an effort to discredit the Tea Party. On one occasion global warming activists were briefly successful in submitting a petition “signed” by a Geri Halliwell before it was discovered and removed.

    Manzi claims “Scientific American did the hard work of actually contacting a sample of individual signatories, and estimated that there are about 200 climate scientists who agree with the statement in the petition among the signatories.” What actually happened is a global warming advocate with Scientific American claimed to have tried to contact 30 of the 1,400 signatories holding a PhD directly related to climate science, but was successful in contacting barely half of them. Of course, he could have contacted the Oregon Petition staff, who could have given him contact information for the sample of names he was pursuing. Instead, he made the unsupportable determination that anybody he could not personally hunt down without the assistance of Oregon Petition staff was not a credible signer.

    The Scientific American writer asked the few signers he reached if they would “sign the Petition today” with yet-to-be-updated information. Roughly one-third of the scientists, predictably, said they would not sign the petition “today” with data that had yet to be updated. The Scientific American hack deceitfully claimed this meant the scientist now disagreed with the core message of the Petition.

    Manzi musters a final attack on Levin with his own appeal to authority. He lists several scientific organizations that allegedly “didn’t reject the notion of man-made global warming.” This evidence of professional opinion, Manzi says, means skeptics must believe in some kind of “conspiracy” to conceal the true science of climate change, which he dismisses as “wingnuttery.”

    But how meaningful are the resolutions and statements that Manzi cites? Such statements invariably express the opinions of members of small and politically motivated committees or individual leaders of organizations rather than the views of the organizations’ members. They are often thinly veiled calls for more government funding. Their authors are often transparent in their motivation to use their positions in scientific organizations for political ends.

    For example, Manzi lists the American Chemical Society as an organization that “didn’t reject the notion of man-made global warming,” but the ACS position was reached with little or no input from the ACS scientists themselves. The ACS membership is currently in open revolt regarding the ACS position statement, but Manzi forgot to mention that.

    It is interesting, moreover, how Manzi states his proposition. By saying these organizations “don’t reject the notion of man-made global warming,” he glosses over the very ambiguity he accuses skeptics of indulging in when they say “global warming is not a crisis.” Both statements are broad enough to embrace the idea that there is a small human influence on climate but that it is not enough to merit efforts to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions. By Manzi’s own logic and words, the scientific organizations he cites do not contradict the position of most skeptics.

    Here’s another way to think about it. Attempting to discredit skeptics by producing a list of organizations that “didn’t reject the notion of man-made global warming” is like attempting to discredit the notion of organized crime by producing a list of experts who don’t believe the nation is beset by a La Cosa Nostra crisis.

    In conclusion, Levin does a fine job conveying the real doubts in the scientific community about the causes, extent, and consequences of climate change. It’s because of his efforts and those of many other conservatives and libertarians that barely a third of the American public still believes in man-made global warming.

  • 89 Conservatism’s shari’a, liberalism’s ijtihad | WeDuggIt // May 28, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    […] essay, which led to his political excommunication. Julian Sanchez observed that this represented an epistemic closing of the conservative mind, a thesis that was validated by the retribution visited upon Jim Manzi for daring to suggest that […]

  • 90 Right Wing Nut House » HAWKINS AND THE TRAGIC FLAW OF THE IDEOLOGUES // Jul 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    […] the whole thing. But instead of mocking epistemic closure, John should reread the original piece by Julian Sanchez and contemplate how his explanation defines the term: Reality is defined by a multimedia array of […]

  • 91 The “Epistemic Closing” of the Conservative Mind by billmon « Bear Market News // Jul 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    […] Julian Sanchez Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt […]

  • 92 The “Epistemic Closing” of the Conservative Mind « Bear Market News // Jul 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm

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  • 94 Epistemic Closure And JournoList // Jul 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    […] they expose themselves only to sources of information that come from a similar political bias, it creates its own reality, as Julian Sanchez explained when he coined the term epistemic closure: One of the more striking […]

  • 95 The sword of epistemic closure cuts both ways | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen // Aug 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    […] are, of course, many factors — I would offer it is the term that Julian Sanchez so aptly (re)introduced back in March:  epistemic closure. This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also […]

  • 96 Bloglines RIP « Unkategorized // Oct 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

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  • 98 Arguments « Meta-Commentary // Feb 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    […] to the distinction. In speculating about the “how” of this , smarter people than I have used the term “epistemic closure.” In addition to being truly awful jargon, I don’t think the […]

  • 99 Michael Lind would like you to know that it’s all hopeless, so you might as well frack | The Handsome Camel // Jun 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    […] engaging in a kind of liberal-baiting that has no parallel on the right. Julian Sanchez’s musings on “epistemic closure” in conservative circles aside, right-wing pundits almost never feel the need to attack the ideas of their fellow-travelers […]

  • 100 tim // Jun 10, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Cocktail Parties. i like that, because we may make more friends through that,

  • 101 The Evangelical (and Republican) Cult Explosion | Prometheus Unbound // Jun 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    […] other words, the cultic rot is spreading. At his blog, Julian Sanchez calls this “epistemic closure”: One of the more striking features of the […]

  • 102 アバクロ // Jun 16, 2011 at 3:19 am

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  • 104 精力剤 // Jun 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

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  • 107 The Future of the Web: Aggregating, Editing and Filtering « Personal // Aug 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    […] to do with the Times. (Of course, this means that I’m likely to have trouble with issues like epistemic closure, since my chosen filters are likely to end up being those filters that tell me only things I want […]

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  • 168 On Romney and the conservative bubble | Punditocracy // Sep 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

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  • 176 Epistemic implosure | Printculture // Oct 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

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  • 205 The Closing of the Libertarian Mind | The Musings of a Burkean Libertarian // Sep 30, 2014 at 12:54 am

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  • 207 Krugman shows us why the Left loses, despite its advantages | Fabius Maximus // Nov 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

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  • 208 The Wangst that Comes After | Vox Popoli // Dec 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

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