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Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.

Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. 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 spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Bookmark PropOrNot or other sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. 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 march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. 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. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. 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 game is over.

18. 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. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

[Source]

Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor and historian of Eastern Europe, originally published this on Facebook. He is the author of “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning.” Twitter: @TimothyDSnyder

A lovely reference for myself and my readership.  :) Go peruse the book here.

bookofbad

stawman

More useful information for the double XX crowd. :/  *sigh*.

smilingmore

Makes more sense to me put in this format, go go go magic of the internet. :)

177888-Morse-Code-A-Visual-Guide

Well it had to happen sooner or later, the viciously anti-woman contingent of local forced birth brigade came to campus with their misleading fetus porn and all the lovely related argument for women to be incubators first and people second.

Thankfully the feminist and queer communities counter demonstrated to help push back some of the nonsense being spread.

UofAprotestjpg   Life-Site News has a sad.  Too bad fetus-fetishists.

   Helpful hints for the local forced birth advocates.

Helpful hints for the local forced birth advocates.

dictionary   I would like to take this time to edify and hopefully illuminate those with access to my very small part of the blogging community.

Blogging community, if you care to listen please note that for future reference that if you intend to talk about a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or wish to actively criticize please recognize that looking up terminology you will be dealing with in a dictionary is not the endpoint of your commitment to honest discussion.

Defining your terms is important, but the level of detail present in most dictionaries is not sufficient to base a reasonable argument on.  An example of the problem described can be found in the wordpress reader, while browsing the feminism tag.  Every day I see posts that either start out with the dictionary definition of feminism in the topic sentence or maladroitly inserted into a body paragraph just before a long list of criticisms of said definition.

The problem, dear blogging community, is that arguing with dictionary definitions is about as useful licking a frozen fence post with your tongue.  Feminism (and other topics) are often rife with nuance and complexity that require a more careful reading to fully appreciate what they are about.

Would you feel okay in expressing your opinion based on what the dictionary says about a possibly esoteric topic such as:

Quantum Mechanics? 
noun, Physics.
1.
a theory of the mechanics of atoms, molecules, and other physical systems that are subject to the uncertainty principle.
Abbreviation: QM.

Huh, fascinating stuff eh?  Did you see about part about the many types of quarks?  How about the double-slit experiment?  Quantum tunnelling behaviours that are associated with electrons?

   Me either.
So why then do people often think that going on something like this –
Feminism

noun.
1.
the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

…is somehow going to give them enough insight to intelligently comment on Feminism in a meaningful way?  My new goto method for jarring people out of their sullen stolidity is linking to a poignantly concise, accessible piece by bell hooks called Understanding Patriarchy.

Of course, some choose not to look farther than the meanings of words that are easy and convenient for them and their ‘arguments’.  Then other methodology must be used, including the neigh-terrible Red Pen of Justice in the most serious cases of cranial-rectal inversion.

One of the best methods for avoiding various peoples RPOJ’s is using the dictionary, coupled with other resources such as Wikipedia to further flesh out the context of complex topics that one might wish to speak on.  You’ll still get your ass handed to you by those possessing specialist knowledge, but you will avoid the eye-role and exasperated sighs of those who must yet *again* give the 101 level context necessary to properly frame a discussion.

Need more learning and less stress in the classroom?  What you do behind the scenes can make or break your work day.  :>  Being a fan of organization strategies, this video makes me happy on several levels.   Enjoy.

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