“These alarms about the erosion of “true” Americanism flowed through stories of allegedly actual events. Because the threats were communicated through tales of distinct happenings, they were not easily susceptible to counterargument: a counterargument would have to deny what Klanspeople took to be facts, facts accepted because of their respect for those who told the stories. (After all, to challenge someone’s anecdote or claim is more insulting than to offer a different perspective about a general claim. How does one prove the falsity of a concrete event that someone claims to have witnessed?) Suspicion of science—associated with elites and particularly with Jews, and inimical to faith—armored Klanspeople yet further against evidence.”
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