Timothy Snyder and his warning to the Nation
In 2021, Timothy Snyder, the Leven Profession at Yale on the history of Europe, wrote and released a very small but insightful book. The title was On Tyranny and it is available on Amazon in paperback for about 13.00. It is only 126 pages including the introduction and gives 20 questions that need to be asked when dealing with the political situation around the previous administration. Watching and studying Europe, he has a good insight on how democracies, including democratic republics, fall into autocratic forms of government, both from looking at Russia with communism and the later autocracy of Putin to Fascism with Mussolini and Hitler.
Having just finished it for the second time, since buying it in 2021, I was intrigued by the reviews that I found on Goodreads for the work. There were a lot of good reviews, but some really attacked the book's “truth”. Some of the reasons were, in my opinion, fairly petty. One, example, was that he is a 60 plus-year-old white male. This, the reviewer felt, disqualified him from a real ability to look at the situation since, in their opinion, many of the abuses include gender and skin color, and he is in a privileged place regarding those two. I have no argument with the truth of that statement but would suggest that it is no reason to throw his whole suggestion out and disregard it. Another even said it was just the past of another political voice hating on anybody that didn’t agree with him. My reaction to that is that the evidence is there for his characterization of Trump and his followers.
First of all, he points out that “patriots” don’t side with Russia against their own nation. They also don’t encourage Russia to release slanderous accusations against a fellow American in the effort to win an election. Both of these things were done by Trump himself in the days of his campaign. Patriots also don’t incite violence against people who are protesting some element of one’s campaign…which Trump also did.
Now, looking at the followers of Trump, he says very succinctly that if suddenly we see anti-government paramilitary groups (example: Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers) suddenly matching in the street advocating for a “leader”, we are in trouble. And that is exactly what happened at various events during Trump’s term and also on Jan 6, 2021, in Washington DC. The fact that those groups still exist and are continuing their campaign of support for Trump and that Trump is continuing to encourage them, is a fairly clear sign that we are in danger….still.
For example the “if Atlanta, Washington, etc do anything illegal, be ready to take action” speech by Trump is a clear indication, he is more than willing to sign violent reactions to legal processes in order to maintain and regain power that he wants for himself. If he gets that power, our nation is indeed in big trouble. He has already shown himself to be willing to pay the part of an autocrat who rules by fiat instead of by rule of law in his 4-year term.
Below find some interesting articles that I think validate his position.
The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today…