“There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the information by which to detect lies.”
Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News (1920)
What are the necessary conditions for a democratic public sphere and engaged civil society under conditions of growing complexity in both communication and social structure? Further, in an increasingly fragmented and individualized social structure built on weak ties, is it possible to generate sufficient social integration, trust, and solidarity for public decision making beyond the neo-plebiscitary waves of strategic communication that move through elections every few years? Finally, what are the necessary conditions of public judgment for such decision making, particularly regarding the problem of validity and truth claims in the public sphere? Is it possible for a democratic political system to persist in a so-called “post-truth” era?