There is an asymmetry of approach between anti-liberals—of both left and right—and their increasingly alarmed critics. While the latter camp tends to treat controversies and individuals on a case-by-case basis, the former is forever trying to herd people into binary categories. In the words of bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi, “You’re either racist or antiracist; there’s no such thing as ‘not racist.'”

The Manicheans have special contempt for those who refuse such designations, especially when they’re otherwise on the same side of the political spectrum. That the Harper’s authors came mostly from the left and prefaced their brief complaint with a swipe at President Donald Trump bought them no sympathy from their progressive tormentors. So signatory Yascha Mounk founds an earnest new publication called Persuasion, even while being dismissed by such leftists as The Daily Beast’s Laura Bradley as belonging to a “coven of fools.”

This witch-burning moment will hopefully recede, but the fuel in this accursed year will continue piling up.