Quote from Sophia Rosenfeld | Facing History & Ourselves

Quote from Sophia Rosenfeld

Historian Sophia Rosenfeld reflects on the relationship between truth and trust among members of a democracy.
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English — US
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  • History
  • Social Studies
  • Democracy & Civic Engagement

Quote from historian Sophia Rosenfeld in the article “Why Truth Matters for Democracy”: 

. . . the best aspects of democracy cannot survive without any commitment to finding some common way of seeing and talking about the world. Truth matters as the foundation for interpersonal trust. It matters because we cannot talk to one another, much less conduct a serious debate, until we share some principles and facts about the world at large, not to mention a consensus on how to generate them. 

Most of all, truth matters as a form of collective aspiration. By this way of thinking, democracy’s great advantage consists of the opportunities—the second or third or even multiple chances—it affords citizens, who may disagree on much, to try to get things right. Only if we can imagine the possibility of progress—that is, progress away from propaganda and spin and toward a truer and more consensual view of reality—can we begin to narrow the gaps between democratic theory and the world in which we actually live and operate. 1


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