Submitted by ub on

The lessons on tyranny outlined are crucial reminders of the vigilance and responsibility needed to safeguard democratic values.

Each point reflects a profound understanding of historical contexts and their relevance to contemporary society.

The emphasis on defending institutions, and upholding a multi-party system resonates with the essence of maintaining a robust democracy. The caution against polarization and the manipulation of language and symbols for hate or division underscores the importance of rejecting extremist ideologies from Communists and Fascists. Today is yet another day that will live in infamy by self-proclaimed Christians on the day of the Epiphany. This time our United States of America was attacked from within.

The largest criminal probe in DOJ history continues with 1,200 charged, and more than 460 imprisoned for their role in the US Capitol attack. Meanwhile,  prosecutors have secured more than 718 guilty pleas in crimes related to the January 6 cases.

Points addressing the role of armed individuals, the power of truth, investigative journalism, and the importance of personal interactions emphasize the need for critical thinking, discernment, and active participation in society.

Moreover, suggestions to cultivate a private life, engage in community service, learn from global perspectives, and recognize dangerous rhetoric exhibit a comprehensive approach to fostering a responsible citizenry capable of withstanding potential threats to democracy.

Overall, these lessons serve as a guide for citizens to navigate a complex political landscape, maintain ethical standards, and preserve the foundations of democracy in the face of potential threats.

The following are lessons on Tyranny as Our Founding Fathers tried to protect ‘We The People’ from the threat they knew all too well.

1. Do not obey in advance. Think about Hitler’s Germany, where power was gained democratically (mostly). Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given by the people. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want and then offer themselves without being asked.

2. Defend institutions. Institutions are not platforms for individuals, but tent poles that hold up our liberal republic. But if we abuse them, they will fall. So they need our help. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions do not protect themselves. So choose an institution you care about and take its side.

3. Beware the one-party state. This seems obvious, but all too often we blink at the dominance of one party. And remember that parties that remade states—the Nazis or the Communists, most obviously—and suppressed rivals were not omnipotent from the start. They exploited a historic moment to make political life impossible for their opponents. Support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. We don’t always recognize when we are living in a historic moment, but constant vigilance keeps us safe.

4. Take responsibility for the face of the world. I love this one. The symbols of today enable the reality of tomorrow. Notice the swastikas and other signs of hate. And watch for new signs of hate. Does it divide? Does it create an “other”? Does it push a wedge? Do not look away, and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

5. Remember professional ethics. Institutions are not found solely in government, but also in the professional groups we belong to, be it the law, medicine, accounting, business, or any other. Snyder says that when political leaders set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become important. It is hard to subvert a rule-of-law state without lawyers or to hold show trials without judges. Authoritarians need obedient civil servants, and concentration camp directors seek businessmen interested in cheap labor.

6. Be wary of paramilitaries. I struggle with this one because it touches so close to the Second Amendment, the right to defend one’s self, one’s state, and resist the government’s overreach. If we give up our guns, who is to give the military pause when an unjust or illegal order is given from above? The author argues that when the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come. I think that it’s a salient argument, but one that needs more depth. Uniformed militia under the state is one thing; uniformed militia blindly (or not blindly, I suppose) following The Leader is another.

7. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. I would add to Snyder’s point—because, again, he doesn’t seem to be completely okay with the paradigm of private individuals going about armed, which I think is a critical right in our democracy—that being reflective applies to all armed individuals. Showboating your AR-15 in a crowd or the mall does nothing to build trust and confidence.

8. Stand out. This speaks to the need to be more than just what I call a lurker online. No, you don’t need to engage in every argument on the internet—that’s akin to casting your pearls before swine. But it is easy to follow along, and research shows that all too often people follow because they are under the impression that everyone else feels the same way. It can feel strange to do or say something different. Without occasional unease, there is no freedom. Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

9. Be kind to our language. AMEN. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. Make an effort to separate yourself from the internet. Read books.

10. Believe in truth. Snyder says that to abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is a spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights. Everything is relative. And that’s just hogwash.

11. Investigate. I feel like this one is becoming harder each day. However, the author says it is important to figure things out for yourself and to spend more time with long articles. He suggests paying for investigative journalism by subscribing to print media (I choose the WSJ for my reading, though I read others when I can). A lot of what is on the internet is there to mislead or harm. Learn about sites that investigate propaganda campaigns (some of which come from abroad). Take responsibility for what you communicate to others, and try to be accurate.

12. Make eye contact and small talk. More than being polite, this is part of what it means to be a neighbor, a citizen, and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social barriers, and understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, we will want to know the psychological landscape of our daily lives. He doesn’t say it, but maybe we should recognize that cancel culture is an extension of this theme, no matter whether it comes from the Left or the Right.

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 support them in their trials and struggles.

14. Establish a private life. Remember that what you put online is permanent (or pretty close to it). Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the Internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble because it can be used against you.

15. Contribute to good causes. Be active in organizations, political or not, that express your view of life. Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. If you’re religious, be actively involved and engaged. Be a good neighbor. See also #12 above.

16. Learn from peers in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The author is far more international in his thinking than I am, but perhaps he’s not wrong. If America is to be a light on a hill, then we must also be willing to be humble and willing to go and learn and build friendships beyond our shores. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Listen for dangerous words. Be alert to the use of the words extremism and terrorism. They have been used regularly over the last century as excuses to take power and expand the state. Be alive to the fatal notions of emergency and exception. Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. Modern tyranny is terror management (see #17). When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events to consolidate power. Do not fall for it. In the days of the Roman Republic, in moments of crisis, the Senate would appoint a dictator to address the threat, but that dictator was limited to just the year to protect the nation—and yet, Caesar still rose to become Emperor. Should we be any less surprised when one man attempts to take greater power for himself in the wake of a crisis?

19. Be a patriot. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. Patriotism is a good thing, but it doesn’t spring fully from Zeus’s head, but in the lessons, we pass on to our children.

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.

In George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel 1984, “thought crime”—a person’s politically unorthodox thoughts, such as unspoken beliefs and doubts that contradict the tenets of the ruling party—is an even more serious offense than committing an actual crime. In other words, even allowing yourself to have a thought that does not conform to what the ruling elite has decreed is dangerous.  

His expert staff continually told him the election was the most secure in US history and he was the loser, but he lied to his mindless minions. His malignant narcissism and psychosis wouldn't allow loser Don to believe the truth! He lost in 2016 by 3 million votes, he lost in 2020 by over 7 million votes, he lost over 60 court cases...he does what losers do...lose.

Then he attempted to destroy our country and the greatest democratic nation the planet has ever seen; denigrating the true Patriots that died in defense of our country and Democracy, by continuing his Big Lie in his feeble attempt to become an American dictator.

We The People won’t allow it #VOTE to protect and preserve Democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. 2024 is the pivotal time in our nation's history! Be on the right side of Democracy by VOTING BLUE across the board!…