The contraction of the public realm, however, extends beyond these Orwellian developments. Public space is produced from the private: In democracy, the commons is always a compact about what is to be shared, what reserved; about where we choose to interact with the other. There’s been a lot of criticism from certain academic quarters about traditional notions of public space, about overidentifying the idea with streets, squares, parks, and other historic settings for face-to-face interactions. This critique is predicated both on the idea that these spaces fail to acknowledge the existence of multiple publics and that a purely spatial definition of public space is inadequate in the Internet age (or any other). While the idea of a one-size-fits-all public arena surely risks its own oppressions, spaces of free access are foundational to civil liberty; winnowing them, whether for nominally progressive or out-and-out reactionary reasons, is very risky. Public space that excludes the civic—supporting only private forms of exchange—puts our democracy under radical threat.