Bruce Bartlett describes his experiences trying to break into the epistemic closure bubble of the amazingly delusional Thing That Used to be Conservatism. It’s oddly reminiscent of accounts of deprogrammers working to bring people out of the grip of a cult. The Thing that Used to be Conservatism, both in his account and in my own limited experience with some of its avatars in the media, comes off looking more and more like the Church of Scientology, manipulating a media empire to Pravdafy Party Favorites and disappear Enemies of the Regime (I too am familiar with the phenomenon of having good work carefully ignored by certain organs due to my ideological unfitness on subjects having nothing to do with the book under consideration for review). The conviction grows that there was something about the utterly disastrous tenure of George W. Bush that was like a comet of doom that struck the party and infected it with a wasting illness with which it still struggles, as though it were under an enchantment. The amount of impenitent, feckless, irresponsible, eyes-shut-tight folly that still grips this ill-starred political movement is astounding to behold.
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