Magazine September 1, 2021, Issue

How Societies Arrive at Truth

Branded merchandise is displayed for sale outside Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., June 18, 2018. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, by Jonathan Rauch (Brookings Institution Press, 280 pp., $27.99)

Decades from now, there will still be a market for Jonathan Rauch’s new The Constitution of Knowledge. Rauch, a senior fellow at Brookings, offers an insightful way of understanding how reliable information is developed. This is a timeless topic, and his analysis and argument are novel, so it will be valuable to those interested in social and political matters regardless of when it’s read. But it is also a period piece; future students will learn a great deal about this era from the fact that one of the sharpest analysts of his generation felt compelled to write a book about

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This article appears as “Information Processing” in the September 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Andy SmarickMr. Smarick is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work focuses on education, civil society, and the principles of American conservatism.

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