Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A review of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons for the Twentieth Century

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth CenturyOn Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Snyder worries that the post-Cold War West has largely assumed "we won, now history doesn't matter" and in so doing left us dangerously open for the repetition of history. In order to inoculate us against such an eventuality he gives concrete examples of how both fascism and communism were resisted in the 20th century.
Here are the 20 points he fleshes out in this little, powerful, book:
1. Do not obey in advance.
2. Defend institutions.
3. Beware the one-party state.
4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
5. Remember professional ethics.
6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
8. Stand out.
9. Be kind to our language.
10. Believe in truth.
11. Investigate.
12. Make eye contact and small talk.
13. Practice corporeal politics.
14. Establish a private life.
15. Contribute to good causes.
16. Learn from peers in other countries.
17. Listen for dangerous words.
18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
19. Be a patriot.
20. Be as courageous as you can.

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