We know that a significant decline in a society’s deep literacy 1 can matter because it has happened before. Thanks in part to the revolutionary impact of the codex, male literacy rates in the Roman Republic and then Empire were probably in the 30% to 40% range, at least in urban areas. […] After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476, literacy rates quickly dropped below 5%, and did not regain their previous levels until the 16th century at the earliest. Until they did, the advent of liberalism as we understand the term could not happen.
1 Garfinkle definiert Deep Literacy im selben Text wie folgt: „Deep literacy is what happens when a reader engages with an extended piece of writing in such a way as to anticipate an author’s direction and meaning, and engages what one already knows in a dialectical process with the text. The result, with any luck, is a fusion of writer and reader, with the potential to bear original insight. […] Deep reading alone creates the possibility of a private internal dialogue with an author not physically present.“