OPINION

From words to violence

Words matter. Even a few lines posted on social media that may initially seem fringe and completely outrageous can spread at pandemic speed from the dark corners of the virtual community of social networks to the consciousness of citizens.

Words can, more than ever before in history, produce political reality. The long trial of American democracy has shown that the public sphere can no longer be defined solely by communication channels that have matched their profitability with sensationalism – with what excites and radicalizes – in order to keep the user pinned to their seat.

Western democracies need new rules of self-restraint in public speech. We need new codes of political responsibility. And this, of course, is not just about the United States.