THE CONSTITUTION OF KNOWLEDGE: A Defense of Truth | Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution Press, 280p.
Using the framework of a legal Constitution, the author posits the organic development of what he calls "liberal science." Much of his description is historically true and methodologically accurate. Still, his prose wails a bit nostalgic for a recent past.
The book is a well-deserved rebuke to the Trump era, but it's dishonest in portraying this current period as a cause versus a symptom. By narrowing its aperture, the author misses the full story.
At length, Rauch describes a "reality-based community" that is a living social network "that adheres to liberal science's rules and norms." He notes "objectivity, factuality, rationality," and always humility.
On this, he's suitable, along with his diagnosis of the evils of "epistemic tribalism" and its destabilizing impact on civilization.
Critics will see a dearth of practical solutions to get our liberal order back on track. In this regard, Rauch remains committed to the wisdom of a liberal order - small incremental solutions rooted in culture, mores, and norms rather than grand authoritative government "fixes."
Mr. Rauch's defense of a credentialed ruling class of "reality-based community" at times lingers on the fallacy of an appeal to authority - that anti-factual interloper that people of all stripes - and every authoritarian - is fond of relying upon.
While often annoying, the book generally contributes positively to a necessary conversation.