This issue begins with Peter Strandbrink’s argument that “standard liberal
democratic theory should be pressed significantly harder to recognize the
lexical and conceptual fact that civic political and cognitive participation
in mass liberal democracies belong to different theoretical species.” It is
by conflating both of these theoretical species, which Strandbrink sees as
the dominant tendency in contemporary democratic theory, that we inhibit
our ability to critically evaluate “epistocratic theoretical registers.”
Further unsettling is Stranbrink’s view that, once separated from each
other, neither the theories of civic political or cognitive participation
offer much help in dealing with the rise of “alt-facts” or “post-truth” in
liberal democratic societies today.
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