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In Przeworski’s understanding, the rules tend to channel uncertainty in stability-enhancing ways.
Autocrats have addressed this dilemma with a variety of mitigating strategies that strike tradeoffs between the risks and benefits of free information.
Traditionally, authoritarian governments have tried to restrict access to most information and limit speech through a variety of censorship mechanisms.
To pursue this project of repair, we need a better understanding of democracy’s resiliency in the face of information attacks.
Building that understanding is harder than it might seem.
A new consensus is emerging that democracy is less a resilient political system than a free-fire zone in a broader information war.
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This despairing, technologically determinist response is premature.
At the same time, information flows can be manipulated to undermine democracy by allowing the unchecked spread of propaganda and pseudo-facts, all made more efficient by the Internet, automation, and machine learning.
This is Democracy’s Dilemma: the open forms of input and exchange that it relies on can be weaponized to inject falsehood and misinformation that erode democratic debate.
We can begin to understand what the fundamental threats are, and how best to respond to them.
On the other hand, freely available information can also undermine an autocracy.