Put another way, we tend to assess events not in the light of reason but with the flames of partisan passion. What we make of a given moment is governed less by merits and details and more by the mores and demands of our particular political tribe.

This is the great fact of our time, and it couldn’t be more relevant in the post–Mueller report universe. Reason compels opponents of Donald Trump who so hoped the investigation would bring him down to accept the report’s apparent conclusions. Reason too should lead Trump supporters who have long denounced Robert Mueller to acknowledge that the probe they believed a witch hunt was in fact a legitimate inquiry…

I’m not naive about the prospects for a new Age of Enlightenment to come and rescue us from tribal impulses, not least because even the Age of Enlightenment had to find ways to manage, not repeal, the perennial tension between reason and passion. “In every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1798, “and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time.”