Reality-based Community

Karl Rove by Julie Weiss

The phrase, ‘proud member of the reality-based community‘ was first used in 2014 to suggest the commentator’s opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the ‘faith-based community’ as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in ‘The New York Times Magazine’ by Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove): ‘The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ ‘…That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

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