Democracy is under attack in the Western world, but it’s not always so easy to tell who is doing the attacking and who supports them.
It’s happening on social media sites that have open forums for reader comments. During the so-called trucker convoy protests in Canada, the Trudeau government was under constant attack in myriad forums by people calling him “a Nazi” and “a dictator,” among other things.
Those two words were a tipoff: When I looked at the profiles of those posting that sort of comment on Facebook, for example, I came away pretty convinced they were fake.
I suppose it is no secret that Russian hackers and disruptors, a.k.a. bloggers, allegedly have been targeting the infrastructure of Western nations, attacking the sites of Western companies and holding them for ransom, and sowing seeds of discontent in every possible reader forum they can.
The far right is doing a lot of that, as well, though it is questionable whether they are trying to bring down power grids and the like. It’s not entirely out of the question, given that they put up barricades at key border crossings into the United States and occupied several blocks of downtown Ottawa for weeks. The border blockades were meant to do serious harm to the Canadian economy — and it begs the question of whether the Russians were behind that as well.
But it can be difficult to tell who’s a Russian disruptor posting comments in social media and who’s a member of the far right from Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K.or any number of other countries. OK, or who is just an ill-informed and uneducated person who doesn’t know the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship.
In short, the far right in the West and the Russians might as well be working together because their goals are similar if not the same: undermine and/or disrupt democracy, and bring down governments that support it.
The troubling question for me is, why do Western companies with social media sites open to reader comments allow the far right and the Russian disruptors to flourish there? Are they not aware of what’s going on? Or do they not see it as a problem, perhaps feeling that most readers there are intelligent enough not to be influenced by them?
Or do they welcome comments from the far right and even the Russian disruptors because it fits with their own agendas? And worse, are they involved in an actual plot with the Russian disruptors and/or far right extremists?
I don’t believe in censorship, but I also don’t believe in giving free rein to people who mean to do our country harm. And I know that the Canadian government is currently looking at this situation.
But it’s happening throughout the Western world and I think as the Cold War progresses, we are going to see a lot of finger-pointing as our intelligence agencies seek to root out the spies and disruptors among us along with their allies.
And I think we will see company leaders and their underlings who have allowed this sort of thing to proliferate on their social media pages being led away in handcuffs.
Click, click . . .