Limbaugh also says that the conservative “intelligentsia” — in the form of conservative magazines and think tanks — doesn’t want to solve problems, it just wants to score points in an “academic exercise” within a perpetual “debating society.” “In other words,” Limbaugh says, “some people constantly need something to run against as a reason to exist.”

Meanwhile, many in the so-called establishment and intelligentsia have similar complaints about Limbaugh and his imitators on radio and cable TV, although most don’t say it publicly for fear of reprisal. I’ve lost track of the number of congressmen, consultants, and so forth who’ve told me that talk-radio hosts spend their time criticizing fellow conservatives because that’s what brings in the highest ratings. (Beating up on liberals just doesn’t animate the base like it used to.)

Wherever the truth lies, questioning motives is poisonous, because such claims are not only unfalsifiable, but they also give an instant excuse to ignore sincere, reasoned arguments.

Nearly every position on Trump is immediately subjected to a kind of vulgar Marxist analysis. “You think Trump would make a bad president? Oh, you’re just saying that because you’re part of the establishment!” “You think Trump would make a good president? Oh, you’re just saying that to get attention.”