Contrary to many on the Internet, I accept that writers like Friedersdorf and Weigel intend their continuing attacks on elements of the Right as part of an effort to reform and improve it (as opposed to simply taking the center-left’s money for trying to divide the Right). Where they go wrong is in pursuing that sort of political agenda with so little application of the basics of politics and persuasion. Sure, William F. Buckley, Jr. did the Right a favor by helping marginalize groups like the John Birch Society — but he had been one of America’s most prominent conservative thinkers for over a decade when he did it. Today’s Friedersdorfs and Weigels do not have a fraction of that credibility or stature within the movement, which — fairly or unfairly — causes many conservatives to tune them out. Their options, then, are to either complain about “epistemic closure” or to earn the sort of respect that allows someone like Charles Krauthammer to freely criticize Republicans and conservatives without being dismissed. I am told by people I respect that Friedersdorf and Weigel come across much better in person than in text, so perhaps they will eventually grasp the degree to which their overall approach ends up alienating the very people they purportedly hope to persuade.