: David Brooks writes his obligatory neocons-are-just-regular-guys-not-conspirators column — “con is short for ‘conservative’ and neo is short for ‘Jewish’ ” — and that’s fine until the end, when he makes a sweeping generalization that is oddly paranoid and conspiratorial, considering that he just — properly — debunked conspiracy theories:

Still, there are apparently millions of people who cling to the notion that the world is controlled by well-organized and malevolent forces. And for a subset of these people, Jews are a handy explanation for everything.

There’s something else going on, too. The proliferation of media outlets and the segmentation of society have meant that it’s much easier for people to hive themselves off into like-minded cliques. Some people live in towns where nobody likes President Bush. Others listen to radio networks where nobody likes Bill Clinton.

In these communities, half-truths get circulated and exaggerated. Dark accusations are believed because it is delicious to believe them. Vince Foster was murdered. The Saudis warned the Bush administration before Sept. 11.

You get to choose your own reality. You get to believe what makes you feel good. You can ignore inconvenient facts so rigorously that your picture of the world is one big distortion.

And if you can give your foes a collective name