What do you think?
Rate this book
126 pages, Paperback
First published February 28, 2017
When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh. When the leader, the paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.Second, “13. Practice corporeal politics”:
Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.On Tyranny is a useful little book, both disturbing and strangely comforting. I’m laughing at Trump less since I read it, and I’m less scared of him too.
The politics of inevitability is a self-induced intellectual coma.
“In 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the SS took the initiative to devise the methods of mass killing without orders to do so. They guessed what their superiors wanted and demonstrated what was possible. It was far more than Hitler had thought.”Snyder goes on to say that “anticipatory obedience means adapting instinctively, without reflection.” Yes, I agree that the eagerness to be agreeable can make fools of us. Even if we are in the uniformed services, Snyder argues, we have the responsibility to 7. Be Reflective if You Must Be Armed. “Be ready to say no” and stand up for our values.
“We believe we have checks and balances [in government], but have rarely faced a situation like the present: when the less popular of the two parties controls every lever of power at the federal level, as well as the majority of statehouses. The party that exercises such control proposes few policies that are popular with the society at large, and several that are generally unpopular—and thus must either fear democracy or weaken it.”We must be strong, 18. Be Calm When the Unthinkable Arrives, and 20. Be As Courageous As You Can. “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.” When I read these words I thought of the bravery of the man in the white shirt holding grocery bags in each hand who stood in front of rolling tanks during the Tiananmen Incident in China in 1989. It wasn’t just that man who showed extraordinary bravery, but the soldier in the tank whose orders were to reach the square. He stopped, disobeying orders, and for all he knew, would bear the wrath of his superiors. That’s when we know the values hold and the country is not irreparably broken.
Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying objective truth in favor of a glorious myth articulated by leaders who claimed to give voice to the people. They put a face on globalization, arguing that its complex challenges were the result of a conspiracy against the nation. Fascists ruled for a decade or two, leaving behind an intact intellectual legacy that grows more relevant by the day …
We might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats. This is a misguided reflex. In fact, the precedent set by the Founders demands that we examine history to understand the deep sources of tyranny, and to consider the proper responses to it. 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.