Faction friendships are especially dangerous, I’d add, because they not only provide community, they also provide a sense of purpose, as destructive or as false as it may be. But faction friendships are also fragile. They depend on an extraordinary degree of agreement and conformity. I’ve experienced this myself. Many of us have. Friendships built up through years of engagement in politics and activism vanished in the blink of a tweet.
“You’re not with us? Then we’re not with you.”
And unless you have robust family relationships and deep friendships that aren’t so fragile and aren’t so contingent—unless you have a Leo or four or five in your life—then the sense of loss can be emotionally and spiritually catastrophic. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a thousand times more. This is a prime reason why you can’t fact-check, plead, or argue a person out of a conspiracy, because you’re trying to fact-check, plead, and argue them out of their community.
Why does all this seem worse for men? I don’t think it’s all that tough to discern. The diminishing number of male spaces means that there are fewer opportunities for rich, lifelong male friendships to form organically.