We want to feel secure in believing "the truth", so we flock to anyone who appears to have a truth that reinforces our principles. This can be a church, the Bible, the mass media, or an alliance of "rational" atheists who all agree on key ideas.

We seek out information, not to learn what is true, but to confirm the principles we want to see prevail in the world.

If you're a rationalist who works to "overcome biases", this is especially true. Underpinning your rationalist efforts are basic assumptions that you wish to see prevail. Principles without which you are lost, which you hope are meaningful and true.

When people reject information, the internal reaction is, "This cannot possibly be true, or else I need to have a crisis of principles. I'd rather risk believing something false for a while longer. If I turn out to be wrong, a crisis of principles is still worse than that. I can always say I did my best. I was true to my principles, I just didn't know they were mistaken."

For this reason, anyone who compiles information, such as a news outlet or a radio station, is providing a spiritual service. In this sense, Rush Limbaugh was a spiritual leader and a priest. So is Rachel Maddow.

Some of these "spiritual movements" are better than others. The crucial difference is not whether claims of specific historical events are true, e.g. if Jesus died on the cross. It's whether the most valued principles are functional or not.

The principle of personal responsibility is honest and functional: "I have power to change my present and my future right here and right now. Only I define the limits of what I can achieve and experience."

The principle of victim narratives is dishonest and dysfunctional: "I cannot help myself, I'm not responsible for my own decisions because I'm being oppressed by other people. The only way to achieve outcomes I want is to coerce others."

If you're coercing others, this is evidence that you have all the power you need – and you are using it imprudently.

Beware the principles you believe. Once you sort this out, who's telling lies is easy to determine.

It's not actually possible to coerce people except by fooling them into going along, and being fooled is itself a choice.