One can assign causality to things that influenced people without denying their responsibility to avoid being influenced. To wit, both of the following statements can be simultaneously true:
(1) Some people were influenced by troll farms, therefore troll farms had an effect on the election.
(2) People had a moral responsibility to think critically about what they hear and not let troll farms sway them.
Now, the first statement makes claims of fact, so it needs to be tested against empirical evidence. My point here is not to analyze survey data but to note that the first one could be true without invalidating the second one.
Likewise, a third statement could also be true:
(3) A head of government has an obligation to implement lawfully-enacted sanctions against foreign governments that meddle in our internal affairs, irrespective of whether said foreign governments did him personal favors.
The third statement does not change the fact that, per (2), voters have a moral responsibility to make good choices. Responsibility is not some finite, indivisible object. Different people can have different responsibilities, even conflicting responsibilities. For instance, both of these statements can be true:
(4) A GRU officer has a duty to hack the emails of US politicians and influence elections in ways that benefit Russia.
(5) An FBI official has a duty to take lawful and reasonable measures to prevent GRU officers from doing that.
Both of these are true statements about duty. One of them does not obviate the other. We can live in a world where responsibilities overlap, so that voters have a responsibility to ignore certain attempts at influence, while FBI officials have a responsibility to prevent those attempts at influence from happening, and GRU officers have a responsibility to attempt that influence.
Last edited by thoreau
on 30 May 2019, 16:29, edited 1 time in total.
" Columbus wasn’t a profile in courage or brilliance despite the odds, he was a dumb motherfucker that got lucky. Oddly, that makes him the perfect talisman for the Trump era."