Excellent article. Thank you!

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Brian, good thoughts on these linkages between authoritarian regimes. In so many ways this is so obvious. Yet, most in the US do not see or think about those linkages and exchanges of information be they formal or informal. But this kind of information transfer happens much easier and faster in a world of 24 hour news cycles, social media, and increasing international reach of all the above. This makes it easier to spread disinformation and lies to suit the need.

In economics we call these network externalities in that when all people use the same platforms, it makes it easier to work together and transfer information more easily. Hence the reason the prevalence of windows software and applications. Normally we think of these as positive.

But in this case, they are negative...similar platforms make it easier to do harm. Think of it as a “political virus” infecting the software and hardware platform of news and social media.

A solution is a set of continuous patches. In this case changing the rules of the game to prevent or deter the spread of disinformation, gerrymandering, and even changes to legislative bodies such as the Senate being tilted toward a minority of the population in the US. But sometimes governments move slow...too slow to keep up.

In the meantime, sunshine, data, facts, are the best disinfectant we have to these problems. But we are fighting an asymmetric battle in this regard. Those arguing the data and facts need to use the same propaganda techniques used by those spreading disinformation and authoritarian ideas. Fighting fire with fire as it were. But that said seems unwilling to go down that road for reasons I cannot comprehend. That needs to change before it is too late.

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