Sunday, March 26, 2017

Figure out what you stand for

“Without truth, we don’t have trust. Without trust, we don’t have the rule of law. Without the rule of law, we don’t have democracy.” — Timothy Snyder, author and Professor at Yale University specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust

BELOW is part of a summary from RawStory of an interview Bill Maher conducted with Timothy Snyder  but watch the short video of the segment that's attached at the bottom! It's excellent IMHO, and the summary doesn't do the interview justice. 

I found what Snyder had to say at once frightening and validating.

A Yale historian explains to Maher how Trump resembles 1930s fascists — and makes the Russia connection

By Sarah K. Burris

March 24, 2017

Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder’s latest book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century outlines how democracies fail under dictators as they rise to power. In a conversation Friday with Bill Maher, the host asked Snyder to share the top three lessons about tyranny.

“Don’t obey in advance,” was Snyder’s first instruction. He wasn't necessarily referring to obedience to leaders or authority, but rather not following what everyone else is doing. "Figure out what you stand for and be yourself.” 

His second instruction was that Americans must defend institutions. Many anticipate that “the institution will save us,” but Snyder said that this kind of thinking is wrong. 

“We have to save the institutions. They don’t do it on their own. This is the moment of ‘ask not what the institutions can do for you. Ask what you can do for the institutions.'” 

His third was for Americans to believe in the truth. “Without truth, we don’t have trust. Without trust, we don’t have the rule of law. Without the rule of law, we don’t have democracy,” he continued. 

“It was the fascists who said, 'Facts don’t matter. All that matters is the message, the leader, the myth, the totality. We should be thinking about the 1920s,” he said.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes noted that the World War II generation is dying off and with it the experience of the ways in which we are a global society and why we helped fight back fascism. 

"We raised a generation without history,” Snyder added.

Investigative journalist Louise Mensch commented that the 1920s also saw the rise of propaganda. “The modern day version of that is fake news, and this country is under attack on its social networks for Russian-funded, Russian-pushed, propaganda that is uniquely tailored to each individual group.” 

Maher tied the conversation together with the news uncovered this week that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was working for a Russian billionaire on media and advertising. He argued that it’s treasonous to be employed by someone who is actively working against the Untied States and its interests. 

Hayes raised the concern that many people think Trump himself is some sort of Russian spy, but the reality is that Trump was a mere tool used and manipulated into power. 

“Their propaganda aims for the weaknesses the way a sniper aims for the lungs and head,” Snyder explained, “So, they know us. They know how to work with us and they’ve done it very well.'”

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