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Is the United States Heading Towards Tyranny?

Is the United States Heading Towards Tyranny?

Historian Timothy Snyder specializes in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Holocaust. Here he is interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales of Democracy Now! about what we can do to keep the United States from slipping into authoritarian rule.

Worth the time. In fact, you might want to put this Snyder interview at the top of your review list.

The first lesson from Snyder’s book On Tyranny; Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century:

“Do not obey in advance.”

Part 1: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder on How the U.S. Can Avoid Sliding into Authoritarianism | Democracy Now!

Click, to go to Part 2:

Part 2: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder on How the U.S. Can Avoid Sliding into Authoritarianism | Democracy Now!

Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder in his new book that draws on his decades of experience writing about war and genocide in European history in order to find 20 key lessons that can help the United States avoid descending into authoritarianism. ‘I was trying to get out front and give people very practical day-to-day things that they could do,’ Snyder says. ‘What stood behind all of that was a lifetime of working on the worst chapters of European history, a sense of how things can go very wrong.'” ~ Democracy Now!

Be aware. Be objective.


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. Rosaliene Bacchus

    I lived through an authoritarian government in Guyana, the land of my birth. In those days, before the advent of electronic surveillance, government informants were everywhere. We had to avoid openly criticizing the government for fear of losing our jobs or much worse.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Even though the methodologies are different, do you have a sense the U.S. is moving in that direction, or at that degree of surveillance Rosaliene? (Of course, if you don’t want to criticize, I understand. Just ignore question.)

      • Rosaliene Bacchus

        JoAnn, our president behaves like an authoritarian. He appears to be a person who is used to having his way and has no qualms about using bully tactics. His success will depend upon those he has put into key positions within the government. He’s already working to silence the press and spreading doubts about what is fact and fiction. He’s also attacking the judicial branch.

      • JoAnn Chateau

        Whether he knows it or not, he’s on track to fascism, and our checks and balances are going to be put to the test. I hope/think we will make it. Maybe his foolish presidency will cause a renaissance of democracy.

  2. John Fioravanti

    Excellent interview with Professor Snyder. He points out many dangers we face as our democratic institutions are under siege, but as previously mentioned, ignoring history is certainly one, and the undermining of the established media is the other one that is very crucial.

  3. Robert A. Vella

    Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist and commented:
    What struck me most from this enlightening discussion was Snyder’s keen observation of today’s incorrect perceptions that globalization is something “new” and that the historical lessons regarding the rise of authoritarianism “don’t matter.” Such ignorance and disregard for our past mistakes makes their reoccurrence an unavoidable certainty.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Yes. Rarely anything new under the sun.

  4. lobotero

    good post….timely and informative….chuq

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