Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Lessons of "On Tyranny" #1 Updated

Update on bottom.
There is a great book called “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”. I read it when it was published in 2017, when worries about Trump, Trumpism and Authoritarians were seen as over reactions.

Over the next few days, I think I will pull the titles of chapters of the book (the 20 Lessons) and look at how our country can be measured against those now. With special emphasis on changes since the 2016 election. I don't do this because I think our country is lost, but I fear we are losing it. This book tells how authoritarians start to come to power and I want to look at the US through this prism.



Chapter 1 – Do not obey in advance

Most 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 offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do.
Remember in the beginning of his presidency how the adults were going to rein in the new President. That didn’t last long. Realists, understanding they were useless in the face of a sociopathic narcisist, left the government. They were replaced by sycophants that rarely needed to be told what to do. Remember the first cabinet meeting where Cabinet members effusively praised him and repeated lies. Overtime that because so normal, new members as well as current ones lined up to sing his praises.

Attorney General Bill Barr wasn’t told to lie about the Russian Report, but he did knowing it would keep him Trumps good graces. 

 People knew the quickest way to his heart, early on, was to lavishly praise him – regardless of the truth. After that, appearing on Fox News and repeating his talking points, without being asked, was the ey to getting things done.

After years of being dubbed enemies, people around him never questioned his love for Kim Jong Il or Vladimir Putin. Republicans lined up to praise the new normal, even going so far as to denigrate previous administrations that held fast against them.

A great example of this was the way Senator Lindsey Graham took to previewing Trump’s positions before they were even proposed. 

Just today (28 Sept) Sean Hannity is proposing that the US “charge people for citizenship”.

How badly are we doing? I’m thinking 3.5 out of 5 stars (5 stars being the worst).

Since Jan 1, 2021: ⤵️ So much worse. Trump has weaponized this with his followers. He has convinced them the election was stolen and they have to change the rules before it happens again

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