Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Snyder’

There’s a little book out there titled On Tyranny:Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,  from Yale history professor Timothy Snyder that I believe is a must-read for anyone interested in the current affairs taking place in our country as well as abroad.

It’s an easy, brief read ( it’s a small book that is just a little over a hundred pages long) that gets to the point with twenty short essays that outlines the tendencies of authoritarian regimes from the 20th century, focusing on the Nazi and Soviet forms, and puts them in a concise framework that enables you to identify the pattern that their actions followed in their respective rises to power. Some of these actions seemed innocent and easily defensible, even normal, at first glance in their time. But when you place them into a larger template, they became ominous omens of the bad times ahead.

For instance, most tyrannical regimes often begin with their own private security forces, paramilitary units, that morph into enforcers and terrorizers for the ruling despot. Think of the SS of the Nazis. My ears pricked recently when I heard a politician in the state of Washington say that he was going to enlist the Oath-Keepers, a right-wing paramilitary group, as a security force for his public appearances. I am a person who seeks out patterns in everything and the way this fit into the pattern of authoritarianism alarmed me immediately.

The book points out these type of things then serves as a guide to standing against these measures when you see them taking place in your own time and place. It serves as a guidebook that one hopes will never have to be used.  But vigilance requires awareness and preparation. Democracy is a system that doesn’t just happen. It is not natural and must be carefully guarded and maintained. It will always be under attack by those who look to usurp the power of the people for their own ends. That, unfortunately, is natural.

I really urge you to obtain this little book. Right now you can currently get it for under $5 on Amazon. It’s the best $5 investment you’ll make today.

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