rise to the moment
This is an investigation into the current use of disinformation and prop­aganda in the United States. Drawing inspir­ation from art history and three con­temp­orary scholars, we present the following from a pro-democracy point of view and seek to articulate how to understand the mal­ignant effects of dis­in­form­ation and how to be personally empowered to fight the fog that dis­infor­m­ation creates.
Democracy is a political system where power is vested in the people, and the government is account­able to them. In a democ­racy, citizens have the right to vote, express their opin­ions, and enjoy basic civil liberties. No author­itarian political system supports these principles.
through a distorted lens
Visual tactics found in authoritarian propa­ganda have been potent tools of political manipulation and control through­out history. Misleading imagery has played a crucial role in shaping public opinion, reinforcing auth­ority, and promoting ideologies. Below are some key tactics employed in authoritarian propaganda to look for:
control of the media Authoritarian regimes often exert tight control over the media, ensuring that their propaganda reaches a wide audience while suppressing dissenting voices. This can involve direct censorship, the manipulation of news and information, or the use of state-controlled outlets to disseminate the regime’s mess­ages, including photo manipul­ation and staged events.
disinformation and misinformation Authoritarian propaganda can involve the spread of false or misleading information to manipulate public opinion or undermine trust in the regime’s enemies. This can take many forms, from fabricating stories and images to selectively presenting or distorting information. By creating a climate of confu­sion and uncertainty, propagandists can make it more difficult for the public to discern the truth and resist the regime’s messaging.
symbolism Symbols have been central to authoritarian propaganda, as they can convey complex ideas and emotions in a concise, easily digestible form. Examples of symbols include flags, emblems, and color schemes, which can evoke national pride, loyalty, and unity. Authoritarian regimes often use these symbols to create a sense of belonging and identity for their followers.
iconography Authoritarian regimes often create iconic images of their leaders to project an image of strength, wisdom, and benevo­lence. These images, which can take the form of statues, portraits, or even cur­rency, can help to build a cult of personality around the leader, fostering devotion and loyalty among the populace. Iconography also extends into depictions of enemies or scapegoats — often in dehum­anized or demonized forms to justify aggression or persecution against those who oppose the regime.
slogans and catchphrases Visual propaganda often relies on short, memo­rable slogans or catchphrases to convey key mess­ages. These slogans are designed to be easily repeated and shared, making them a power­ful tool for spreading propaganda. Examples include the Nazis’ Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (One People, One Empire, One Leader) and the Soviet Union’s Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Workers of the world, unite!).
emotional appeals Authoritarian propaganda often aims to elicit strong emotions, especially fear, anger, or pride, in order to manipulate public opinion. Visual tactics may include the use of evocative imagery, such as images of suffering or heroism. By tapping into these emotions, propagandists can mobilize the population and increase support for the regime’s policies.
simplification and repetition Visual propaganda often relies on simplified, exag­ger­ated, or stereotyped images to convey its message. By presenting complex issues in simplistic, binary terms, propagandists can make their message more accessible and memorable. Repetition is another key tactic, as it helps to reinforce the desired message and make it more likely to stick in the minds of the targeted populace.
be skeptical
Watch for visual communications that seek to consolidate power, that seek to limit access, that tap into fear and anger, that exploit symbols, that seek to present complex issues in absurd or simplistic ways.
This film from N°88 is composed of content originated in
OpenAI image and chat platforms. It investigates the culture
wars of the last 120 years through the Surrealist art movement,
and the appropriation of surrealism and other related art
movements by authoritarian regimes.
Over the last 120 years, the culture wars have evolved dramatically, encompassing various arts and political movements that have chal­lenged traditional norms and values. The early 20th century witnessed the birth of Surrealism, an artistic expres­sion of the subconscious, which rebelled against rationalism and societal constraints. As the century progressed, artistic movements like Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art emerged, reflecting the anxieties of post-war society and the rise of consumerism. The latter half of the 20th century saw the rise of the feminist, civil rights, and LGBTQ+ movements, which significantly impacted the art world, ushering in a new era of inclusivity and diverse representation. In the 21st century, the culture wars continue to evolve, with digital tech­nology and social media becoming powerful tools for amplifying under­repre­sented voices and challenging conventional artistic hierarchies.
The influence of Surrealism is still evident in present-day art and culture. Contemp­orary artists continue to explore the subconscious and challenge conventional norms, often blending reality with fantasy in their work. Surrealism has also left its mark on various aspects of popular culture, from cinema and literature to fashion and advertising, inspir­ing a lasting fascination with the strange and the uncanny. Moreover, Surrealist ideas have contributed to the ongoing debate surround­ing the importance of art as a means of social and political expression, and as a way to challenge established norms and values.
Innovation in technology and media has played a significant role in the evolution and dissemination of art movements like Surrealism. The rapid advancements in these fields have facilitated the creation, consump­tion, and distribution of art, allowing artists to reach wider audiences and challenge traditional boundaries.
Photography and film, for instance, were embraced by Surrealists as new mediums to explore the subconscious and blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Artists like Man Ray and Salvador Dalí utilized these tech­nol­­ogies to create groundbreaking works that continue to inspire contemp­orary artists.
The advent of television, followed by the internet, social media, and digital art, has further revolutionized the way art is pro­duced and consumed. These platforms have democ­rat­ized access to art, allowing for the amplification of underrepresented voices and fostering a more inclusive and diverse art world. They have also enabled artists to engage with global audiences, creating opportunities for cultural exchange and influencing new artistic styles and movements.
Furthermore, digital technology has given rise to new forms of artistic expression, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and AI-generated art, which continue to challenge traditional notions of art and authorship. These innovations have expanded the realm of possibilities for artists, allowing them to explore new themes and ideas that resonate with the culture wars and the ongoing struggle for social and political change.
While Surrealism as an art movement was not inherently aimed at promoting disin­form­ation, its techniques and character­istics can be co-opted for such purposes.
Unlike the emphasis on individualism and the exploration of ideas in Surrealism,
Authoritarian propaganda often promotes conformity and adherence to a particular set of values or beliefs dictated by the ruling authority.
Surrealism, with its focus on the subcon­scious, irrational, and dream-like imagery, has at times been employed as a tool of disinformation by propagandists and authoritarians. Its inherent ambiguity and ability to distort reality can be manipulated to create confusion, generate alternative narratives, and destabilize the perception of truth.
It is important to recognize the potential
misuse of any artistic style in the hands of authoritarians, and to remain critical in
evaluating the information and narratives we encounter.
distortion of reality Surrealist techniques, such as photomontage and collage, can be used to create images that blend truth and fiction, making it difficult for viewers to discern what is real. By juxta­posing unrelated elements, propagandists can construct misleading narratives that support their agenda and sow doubt.
manipulation of emotions Surrealist art often elicits strong emotional responses due to its unconventional and sometimes disturb­ing content. Authoritarians can exploit these emotional reactions to manipulate public sentiment, fostering fear, anxiety, or anger that can then be directed towards specific targets or used to justify certain actions.
undermining trust in institutions
By employing surreal imagery and narratives to question the credibility of established institutions, propagandists can erode public trust in these entities. This distrust can pave the way for alternative sources of inform­ation and authority that align with the propa­gandist’s objectives.
subversion of dissent Surrealism’s inherent unpredictability can be used to discredit opposing voices by associating them with irrationality or chaos. By portraying dissenters as proponents of absurd or chaotic ideas, authoritarians can delegitimize their arguments and consolidate control.
In some ways, Surrealism can be seen as a precursor to Absurdism, as it paved the way for a more radical rejection of rationality and order. Many absurdists were influenced by surrealism, and some even considered themselves surrealist writers or artists.
Authoritarian regimes may use absurdism as a tool to create confusion and chaos in the public discourse. By promoting absurd or contradictory information, the regime can undermine trust in traditional sources of truth and information. This disorient­ation makes it easier for the regime to control the narrative and manipulate the public.
They can normalize the irrational or illogical aspects of their rule. This may include pro­mot­ing bizarre conspiracy theories, exagger­at­ing or fabricating threats, or offering irrational justifications for their actions. Over time, this can desensitize the public to the irrationality of the regime’s actions and make them more accepting of the status quo.
The absurdity of the regime’s propaganda can also be used to undermine the credibility of opposition groups or activists. By portray­ing them as delusional or misguided, the regime can weaken their influence and make it more difficult for them to organize resistance.
It can serve as a distraction from more pressing issues or the regime’s failings. By focusing public attention on absurd or nonsensical topics, the regime can divert attention away from its own shortcomings and maintain control over the narrative, as well as inoculation against criticism, effect­ively silencing dissent and maintaining their grip on power.
A constant tactic in the authoritarian playbook, Projection, confuses the population by means of Political Appropria­tion. The Soviet Union promoted Social Realism as the only acceptable form of art, but it also used Surrealist and other avant-garde styles of art for propaganda purposes.
In Nazi Germany, Surrealism was banned as Degenerate Art, but the regime also app­­rop­riated Surrealist imagery for its own pur­poses. The Nazis used Surrealist techniques, such as photomontage, to create propa­ganda, posters and other content.
The escalation of the chaotic and irrational messaging of current, anti-democratic movements, along with its potential for manipu­lation, highlights the need for critical evaluation of the information and narratives we encounter. As the world continues to evolve and new political movements emerge, it is crucial to remain vigilant in recognizing the misuse of artistic styles for propaganda and disinformation.
We never know what our last chance to protect our freedoms will be.
Stay awake.
this shit is real.
fight the fog
of authoritarian
inaction is permission
In our contemporary era, we stand at a critical juncture, requiring an intimate and nuanced understanding of political structures, from the democratic ideal to the alarming realities of authoritarianism and fascism. Such under­stand­ing isn’t merely academic; it’s the life­blood of our struggle to preserve democracy and its enduring values.
To keep a clear head it’s important to understand the nature and differences of these forms of government, as well as the behaviors that threaten democracy. Below is synopsis of each:
democracy is a political system where power is vested in the people, and the government is accountable to them. In a democracy, citizens have the right to vote, express their opinions, and enjoy basic civil liberties.
authoritarianism is characterized by the concentration of power in the hands of a few, often at the expense of individual liberties and democratic institutions. Authoritarian leaders typically seek to control information, manipulate public opinion, and suppress dissent. To protect democracy against the dangers of authoritarianism, it is vitally important to recognize and resist
its tactics.
fascism is a form of far-right, radical authoritarianism that often revolves around a single leader, emphasizing nationalism and racial superiority. In his book, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, Timothy Snyder discusses the dangers of fascist ideology, particularly when it is combined with anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. He argues that under­standing the historical context and the consequences of fascism is crucial to preventing its resurgence.
One of the most pressing needs in our democratic duty roster is to stand tall against the onslaught of authoritarian disin­­form­ation. If history teaches us anything, it’s that author­itarian regimes have a nefarious track record of wielding propaganda, distorting media narratives, and rewriting history to their advantage. This manipulation is aimed at one thing—steering public sentiment in their favor. A few signature practices are as follows:
historical revisionism Authoritarian regimes often distort or rewrite history to suit their narratives and legitimize their rule. This can involve downplaying or glorifying certain events, fabricating events that never occ­urred, or suppressing or altering historical records. By manipulating history, they can shape collective memory and create a sense of national identity that supports their ideol­ogies. For instance, Steve Bannon has been known to selectively interpret or emphasize certain historical events or periods to support his political narratives. To justify his calls for radical change he has frequently referenced the prophecy of The Fourth Turning, a cyclical theory of history that suggests the United States is due for a major crisis and transformation.
control of the media is a crucial strategy for authoritarian regimes. They may use censorship, licensing, and ownership to suppress dissenting voices and promote their own narratives. State-controlled media often disseminate propaganda, which can include false or misleading information, as well as positive portrayals of the regime’s leaders and their policies. Donald Trump’s advisors have played a role in shaping his media strategy, helping him bypass traditional media channels and communicate directly with the public through social media, rallies, and interviews on friendly platforms like the recent cnn Town Hall. His absurdist messages frequently make headlines, allowing him to shape public discourse and push his narratives. maga followers have utilized alternative media channels, such as social media, podcasts, and conservative news outlets, to disseminate their views and to counter narratives they perceive as biased against them.
discrediting opponents Authoritarian regimes often seek to discredit and under­mine opponents by spreading disinform­ation, conspiracy theories, and character attacks. This strategy serves to deflect attention from the regime’s own failings and divide the oppo­sition. For instance, Tucker Carlson has a history of scapegoating minority groups, including immigrants and racial minorities, by linking them to social or economic prob­lems, as exemplified by his promotion of The Great Replacement Theory, which suggests that powerful elites are orch­­es­­trating the replace­ment of white popu­­la­­tions with non-white immigrants. The recent Fox News defamation settlement is another example of regime controlled media dis­­cred­iting and under­mining of opponents with disinformation.
cult of personality Authoritarian regimes often foster a cult of personality around their leaders, portraying them as larger-than-life figures with exceptional qualities. This can help maintain the regime’s power by ensuring the loyalty of the popu­lation and the ruling elite. The recent cnn Town Hall is an example of fostering a cult of personality around a particular leader via audience composition, format choices, and the live nature which allowed for live dissemination of known lies.
targeting minority groups Another tactic used by authoritarian regimes is scape­goating minority groups, blaming them for social or economic problems. This can help create an us versus them mentality, where the regime is seen as the protector of the majority against the alleged threats posed by minorities. A current example of this in the news is the work of Ron DeSantis in Florida banning the teaching of relevant modern black history in the State’s schools.
exploitation of crises Authoritarian regimes may use crises or emergencies as opportunities to consolidate power, restrict civil liberties, and implement controversial policies. This can be seen in the concept of shock doctrine, where crises are used to force through rapid and transformative changes that benefit the regime. Trump has employed this tactic to advance his political agenda or critique his opponents. He used the issue of immigration and the situation at the U.S.‑Mexico border to push for his border wall and stricter immigration policies while energizing his maga supporters through race‑directed actions.
encouraging distrust in democratic institutions To undermine faith in democratic systems, authoritarian regimes may question the legitimacy of elections, the independence of the judiciary, and the role of a free press. This can create an environ­ment in which the population is more receptive to alternative forms of governance, such as authoritarian rule. Steve Bannon has criti­cized democratic institutions, such as the mainstream media and the political estab­­lish­ment, which he perceives as biased against Trump and his supporters. He has referred to the mainstream media as the opposition party and has called for the dismantling of the administrative state.
After the 2020 presidential election, Tucker Carlson and others at Fox News raised doubts about the integrity of the election process, amplifying claims of voter fraud despite internal Fox communications proving they knew the claims were false. Fox News has settled the defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems and is the defend­ant in at least one other suit brought by Smartmatic.
In his cnn Town Hall, the day after a unani­mous jury found him to liable for sexual assault and defamation of E. Jean Carol, former president Trump said that “you can’t get a fair trial in New York”.
In his book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder highlights the importance of defending democratic institutions and values, warning that they can be eroded if citizens are not watchful and engaged.
recognize and categorize
As part of that watchful engagement, when you see these behaviors, regardless of party affiliation, it is important to recognize and categorize the behaviors as those of an authoritarian, and to hold in mind that an authoritarian is fundamentally opposed to democracy.
With pro-democracy as our organ­izing prin­ciple, it’s impor­tant to look at the meth­ods used to desta­bilize, weaken or defeat democracy. 
Propaganda is a foundational tool used to attack, erode and corrupt democracy. It’s easy to reduce propaganda to a vague, mono­lithic concept. But like everything else, propaganda has its own peculiar architec­ture to under­stand, describe and respond to. 
Since the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, and with Trump’s on‑going attack on democracy and its norms, US citizens have been grappling with propa­ganda that creates an environment where the line between tangible facts and illusion becomes increasingly blurred.
The inability to discern real from unreal can lead to a disturbing complacency, where the words of those in power are taken at face value, with little to no critical examination.
Awareness of propaganda strategies equips citizens committed to democracy to iden­­tify potential manipulations, maintain a sense of reality, and retain self-determination.
disinformation Where false or misleading information is deliberately circulated to manipulate public opinion.
control of media Propagandists seek to sway or even dominate media narratives, distorting or muting voices of dissent.
promotion of conspiracy theories
Lies that propagandists propagate to foster a climate of confusion, distrust, and fear.
diversion and distraction Tactics used by propagandists to divert attention from problematic issues or questionable actions by their leader or group.
us versus them Narratives cultivated by propagandists to solidify power and suppress opposition.
undermining truth and objective reality Propagandists create an environ­ment where facts are disputed, and reality is constantly under question. This is often amp­li­fied into a cacophony of over­whelming and inconsistent information intended to elim­inate one’s ability to perceive reality, and to be disorienting enough to rob you of your bearings.
cult of the leader The leader is presented by propagandists as a semi-divine figure who owns reality, and whose wisdom and leader­ship are beyond question.
self-contradiction Sometimes referred to as doublethink, this form offers pairs of mutually contradictory claims, Timothy Snyder cited this Russian doublethink coup­ling: “There is no such things as a Ukrainian language” paired with “Ukrainian authorities are forcing everyone to speak Ukrainian.” 
Russians, due to their historical experiences, have developed a sense of cynicism and skepticism towards govern­ment messaging and media. Doublespeak, for instance, is not new to their culture. This allows them to be more critical and discerning of propa­ganda efforts. Americans, on the other hand, may exhibit a higher level of trust in their govern­ment and media institutions, which can make them susceptible to authoritarian narratives.
As an example of how Americans have been susceptible to authoritarian narratives Fox News was sued and settled out of court for almost 1Billion dollars for lying to the American public — yet remains one of the nation’s most watched news channels.
Donald Trump as an individual uses all of the propaganda tactics outlined above, he has been found liable for defamation and sexual assault, he is under indictment for retaining and sharing national security information including nuclear information, and is charged with counts that sit under the espionage act. He is documented to have made 30,573 false and misleading state­ments over his four-year term as president, yet he is the presumed Republican candidate for president in the 2024 election. With this in mind, it is reasonable to assert that he has taken on Cult of the Leader status as outlined above which is in opposition to democracy.
Understanding these strategies and sharing your knowledge fosters greater awareness and resilience. Personal resilience can have a significant impact on creating an informed, resistant public. 
In fighting the fog of disinformation, knowledge isn’t just power; it’s the arsenal that arms us against the manipulations of anti-democratic propaganda and political actors.
resistance to truth
Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive psych­ologist whose research focuses on the mech­anisms and consequences of disinformation, memory, and decision-making. He has inves­t­­igated why people believe in con­spiracy theories, which are often rooted in disinform­ation, and how people update their beliefs when con­­fronted with new or contradictory infor­mation, demonstrating that even after disinformation has been corrected, people may continue to rely on the false infor­mation in their decision-making, a phenomenon known as the Continued Influence Effect.
First, the key reasons people believe conspiracy theories, according to Lewandowsky:
need for cognitive closure
People may believe in conspiracy theories due to a desire for certainty and explan­atory closure. Conspiracy theories can provide simple explanations for complex events or circumstances.
perceived lack of control Conspiracy theories can also provide a sense of under­standing and control in uncertain or threat­ening situations. By attributing events to the actions of powerful groups, individuals may feel like they have some under­standing or control over these events.
distrust in authorities
or institutions

Distrust in government, media, or other institutions can lead individuals to reject official narratives and turn to conspiracy theories instead.
confirmation bias
People tend to interpret new information in a way that supports their existing beliefs. If an individual already believes in one conspiracy theory, they may be more likely to believe in others that are consistent with their worldview.
social identity
and group belonging
Conspiracy beliefs can also serve a social function, reinforcing group identity and cohesion. If an individual’s social group endorses a conspiracy theory, they may be more likely to believe in it as well.
His strategies for mitigating The Continued Influence Effect emphasize the following:
repeated corrections
One approach that he and his colleagues have advocated for is the repeated correction of disinformation. It’s not enough to correct disinformation just once; repeated corrections may be necessary to counteract The Continued Influence Effect.
the truth sandwich
This approach involves presenting the accurate information in a strategic way:
Lewandowsky urges us to challenge and debunk misinformation in a positive, constructive manner by building a truth sandwich.
The idea behind a truth sandwich was coined by Professor George Lakoff of the University of California, Berkeley. It involves stating what is true, reporting that a false claim has been made about that truth, and repeating what is actually true.
This “sandwiches” a dubious claim between accurate statements to ensure the falsehood is neither the first nor last impression in a communication.
preemptive corrections Another approach is to pre-empt disinformation before it can take root. This could involve, for example, warning people about the poss­ibility of disinformation before they encounter it.
alternative explanations
When disinformation is debunked, it can leave a gap in people’s understanding of an event or situation. Providing an alternative explanation can help fill this gap and reduce the continued influence effect.
critical thinking
Lewandowsky’s work also emphasizes the importance of fostering critical thinking skills, which can help individuals evaluate the credibility of information sources and resist disinformation.
stay calm, be as brave as you can
The bravest thing you can do in the face of disinformation is to stay calm and stay engaged. Have the facts, when possible, repeat the facts. We are all being manipu­lated with fear and anger. Frightened, angry people behave erratically.
dr. tara swart
This portrait of Dr. Swart was created using OpenAI which accessed available images of her on line.
filtering for survival
Dr. Tara Swart is a medical doctor and PhD neuroscientist educated at Oxford University and King’s College London. She is Faculty at MIT Sloan, author of U. K. best seller and USA award winner The Source, about the neuroscience of manifestation, and host of podcast Reinvent Yourself with Dr. Tara.
alicia johnson How does the brain process all of the data we are bombarded with, and how might it be possible to stay sane in the face of so much disinformation?
dr. swart First, let’s go through how our brains filter data, and to put it into context, we receive as much information in one news­paper in one day as a person would receive in their entire lifetime 100 years ago.
Our brains are made to filter, and they filter for survival. Those filtering systems are:
selective attention This refers to the overall process of focusing on one or a few tasks, objects, or thoughts while ignoring others. It is a cognitive process that involves both the selection of desired stimuli and the suppression of unwanted stimuli.
selective filtering When you hear the term selective filtering, it’s usually in the context of how the brain ‘filters out’ irrelevant stimuli to focus on what’s important. For instance, this is why you aren’t aware of your clothes touching your skin all day. Selective filtering is thought to occur early in the sensory processing stream, helping to reduce the load on higher cognitive processes.
value tagging Essentially, the process by which the brain assigns value or importance to various stimuli and experiences, influencing how we perceive and react to them. One of the primary brain regions involved in value tagging is the prefrontal cortex, which plays a major role in decision-making and attention.
This filtering is all happening automatically, you can prime those processes proactively — but most of us don’t.
alicia johnson How, as we move toward the next presidential election, does disin­formation amplify a sense of ambiguity and disorientation?
dr. swart There’s actually a psychological phenomenon that describes that, it’s called Liminality. It comes from the Latin word for threshold and it’s the middle stage of a pro­cess where you’re no longer what you were before but you don’t yet know what you will be next. It’s a time of fear and uncert­ainty, like a midlife crisis or an identity crisis.
So liminality is a threshold between our previous way of structuring identity, time or community and a new way which will be the future. Of course at this point, we have choices.
One of the choices we have is to proactively prime the processes of our brain, as I mentioned earlier, with visualizing. For instance, visualizing the community you want to live in as a microcosm of the country you want to live in. Get really specific about the things you value like a safe community for your children to grow up in, a neighbor­hood where you are comfortable talking with your neighbors and knowing that you will watch out for each other, a community that honors individual freedoms and choices, that listens to each other and works together to make your lives better.
Your brain will begin to selectively filter for those things, your attention will be naturally drawn to those characteristics, and your value tagging system will begin to prioritize them when taking in the flood of inform­ation, helping you to make decisions that support what you value rather than being unduly influenced by fear and anger.
One important note when doing this kind of visualization, the brain can not discern this but not that, so keep your focus clean on what you want.
Of course it’s important to know what you don’t want, but for the exercise above focus only on the specifics of what you value and want in your community.
Knowing what you want when faced with conflicting information can keep you calm, rather than having your brain hijacked by absurdity, drama, or disinformation.
alicia johnson It  occurs to me that adopting the British WWII phrase, Keep Calm and Carry On, could act as a mantra of sorts for our time.
dr. swart Yes, yes. In life you are either the driver or the passenger, you can actually take quite a lot more agency in life than people believe they can. When facing con­fusion or conflict, it’s your perogative to assert your own agency to calm yourself, realign to your own values, and, yes, carry on.
how you can
rise to the moment
prime your brain
Use brain science to proactively visualize,
and better filter information for good
decision making.
do not obey in advance
Most of the power of authoritarianism
has been freely given.
be skeptical about propaganda
Be kind to our language, believe in truth, investigate, listen for dangerous words that invoke fear and anger.
stay calm, be as brave as you can
The bravest thing you can do in the face of disinformation is to stay calm and stay engaged.
use your words
Foster greater awareness of authoritarian propaganda and share these tools for
creating personal resilience.
make truth sandwiches
State what is true.
Report that a false claim has
been made about that truth.
Repeat what is actually true.
recognize and categorize
When you see authoritarian behavior,
it’s fair to identify the person as an Authoritarian.
vote pro-democracy
Only Democracy can prevent:
Suppression of free speech;
Curtailment or abolition of civil liberties;
Laws passed by decree without public debate
or popular approval;
Arrest and imprisonment without trial;
Torture and murder by unchecked agencies of the government;
Theft, extortion and embezzlement by politicians in power.
A historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn toward authoritarianism.
“Approach this short book the same as you would amedical pamphlet warning about an infectious disease. Read it carefully and be on the lookout for symptoms.”
—Daniel W. Drezner,
The New York Times
The New Yorker
Gessen has written about Russia, Ukraine, autocracy, L.G.B.T. rights, Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump.
Gessen reveals how, in the
space of a generation, Russia
surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain
of autocracy.
A Neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer at MIT reveals the surprising science that supports The Law of Attraction as an effective tool for self-discovery and offers a guide to discovering your authentic self.

He writes about cognitive science and modeling cognition, misinformation, the correction of misinformation, the post‑truth era, and the rejection of science.
A Neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer at MIT reveals the surprising science that supports The Law of Attraction as an effective tool for self-discovery and offers a guide to discovering your authentic self.

He writes about cognitive science and modeling cognition, misinformation, the correction of misinformation, the post‑truth era, and the rejection of science.
This article provides historical context for the artists drama­tized in the limited series below, and referenced in the film Surreal in this post.
This Netflix limited series brings to life artists of the Surrealist movement when a group of allies in 1940 Marseilles form a rescue operation to help artists, writers, and other refugees fleeing Nazi occupation including Marcel Duchamp, Marc Chagall, André Breton, Hannah Arendt, Walter Mehring and Max Ernst. Nowthought to be some of the greatest artists andintellectuals of all time might not have survived were it not for Varian Fry and his team helping them all escape from France to safety across the Atlantic.