No democratic delusion is more fatuous than that which holds that all men are capable of reason, and hence susceptible to conversion by evidence.
~ H.L. Mencken, ‘The Foundations of Quackery’
I want to be more generous than Mencken here, but just as frightening as the inability of some to be converted by evidence is the ease with which others are converted by ‘evidence’ that doesn’t deserve the name. I served on a jury this week, a mercifully short trial. The experience left me with a novel and unpleasant sense of what it means to call justice blind. As a child you imagine that grownups know what they’re doing running the world. Of course they don’t. The fact that reason sometimes prevails can seem the most unreasonable thing of all – a fluke, even a miracle.