Timothy Snyder: On Tyranny: The Road to Unfreedom

Diane Ravitch's blog

During the protests in Hong Kong, demonstrators carried placards of Timothy Snyder’s lessons about losing democracy.

On Tyranny: the Road to Unfreedom

Timothy Snyder – Yale University – Nov 15, 2016.

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 twenty lessons from the twentieth 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.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a…

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