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.
Adam Garfinkle: The Erosion of Deep Literacy | www.nationalaffairs.com aufgerufen 2020-05-27