Tag Archives: Tyranny

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

Timothy Snyder | March 2017

An idiot’s guide to tyranny: Some thoughts about Timothy’s Snyder’s ‘On Tyranny’
— The Berkshire Edge

“Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism in the twentieth century. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.” — Timothy Snyder, from ‘On Tyranny’ | 2017

The Original article from Mr. Snyder’s Facebook Page

20 Lessons from the 20th Century on How to Survive in Trump’s America
A history professor looks to the past to remind us to do what we can in the face of the unthinkable.

BY Timothy SnyderThis article first appeared as a post on the author’s Facebook page.
His most recent book is “On Tyranny — Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”
(Please note the numbered order is different in the book.)

“Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.”

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom. 

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