Lies and Democracy
Piotr Szyhalski

Lies and Democracy

Political lies, American democracy, and the “Big Lie”

Italian Academy Teatro, Columbia University, and online

“No one has ever doubted that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one, as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness among the political virtues,” wrote Hannah Arendt in 1967. Today, concerns run especially high over the fraught relationship between truth and politics, as majorities of Republican voters in some polls reportedly believe the “Big Lie” peddled by Donald Trump and many other political and media elites that the election was stolen from Trump through widespread fraud. Much of the discussion of the "Big Lie" has been ahistorical: It has focused on the strange and disturbing particularities of the present moment. But how unique is this kind of political lie in the United States? What does it reveal about American democracy? And how much of a threat do lies pose to the democratic order?

Lies and the Law

Related Lies and the Law blogs

Is Politics Possible in the Absence of Truth?
Masha Gessen

The Anguish of the Necessary Lie
Quinta Jurecic

Is Lying Actually a Good Thing in Politics?
Sophia Rosenfeld


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  • Italian Academy Teatro, Columbia University, and online

    1161 Amsterdam Avenue

    New York, NY

    Opening Remarks 

    Katy Glenn Bass, Knight First Amendment Institute


    Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

    Quinta Jurecic, Brookings Institution

    Sophia Rosenfeld, University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences 

    Moderated by

    Genevieve Lakier, Knight First Amendment Institute


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