April 27, 7:00 – 8:30, Buchanan A201
How do we know when we face a democratic crisis? To some degree, new technologies may pose democratic crises. But propaganda has also classically been taken to be a cause of democratic crisis, independently of the medium. In Book VIII of The Republic, Plato argues that democracy’s freedoms will inevitably lead to tyranny. Whether democracy is stable in the face of the potency of demagoguery is one of western philosophy’s foundational questions. What is demagogic propaganda, and what lessons can we learn from philosophy and history about its dangers? How do new technologies bear upon a classical problem?