Unthinkable? The Warnings Signs are here

Historians are seeing the parallels between authoritarian takeovers of european democracies, and what’s happening in America. It can’t happen here, we are inclined to think.

But those who study history aren’t so sanguine. They aren’t lulled into complacency by the normalcy of work, home life, entertainment, … all the stuff that remains routine, except for COVID-19 of course.

Timothy Snyder, the Levin Professor of History at Yale University, distilles his concerns into a short, punchy book. “Today our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century,” he warns.

Timothy Snyder

Historian Heather Cox Richardson echoes the same sentiment, most explicitly in this recent post on her blog “Letters from an American.”

Here is the article by Farhad Manjoo that Richardson opens with. Manjoo came to America from South Africa and he’s seen that the blessings of democracy can be lost more easily that most Americans think.

There are more authors concerned about authoritarian tyranny and the demise of democracy: