Book Review: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

tyranny

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder – Available Here

*Insert Overly-Emphatic Political Treatise Here*

See what I mean? No? That’s fine. I’m not here to change your mind. Hell, I’m barely here at all. Life has me scared and I’ve pretty much taken to books, booze, and checking and rechecking the expiration dates on my stocks of insulin. This is, perhaps at this point an emotional overreaction, but it’s either that or I pressurize my sadness and turn into a rage demon, and I fear it is rage that got us to this moment in the first place.

So here we are. There are two types of people who need to read this: Those that voted for Trump and those that didn’t.

For those who voted for Trump, I’m not saying this as some sort of snide ‘you’ll see what I see’ sort of way (at least not with any sort of malice), but so that you’ll have the historical facts bouncing around in your brain box. It is fine if one reads it and dismisses the correlations wielded like halberds as liberal tears, temper tantrums, or whatever is preferred. Just remember the names, the tidbits of 20th century facts. You might not see it, not yet, but keep your eyes open. History is leaking. It’s crossed an ocean and an industrial revolution, but it’s here.

As for those who didn’t, you are the choir. I read this book because George Saunders said it was important. He was right. Buy it. Make it your Bible. Remember it, carry it with you: the book a shield, your tongue a sword. History is leaking. It’s crossed an ocean and an industrial revolution, but it’s here and it falls to us to plug that hole and make damn sure it thinks twice about ever coming back.

“What is patriotism? Let us begin with what patriotism is not. It is not patriotic to dodge the draft and to mock war heroes and their families. It is not patriotic to discriminate against active-duty members of the armed forces in one’s companies, or to campaign to keep disabled veterans away from one’s property. It is not patriotic to compare one’s search for sexual partners in New York with the military service in Vietnam that one has dodged. It is not patriotic to avoid paying taxes, especially when American working families do pay. It is not patriotic to ask those working, taxpaying American families to finance one’s own presidential campaign, and then to spend their contributions in one’s own companies. It is not patriotic to admire foreign dictators. It is not patriotic to cultivate a relationship with Muammar Gaddafi; or to say that Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are superior leaders. It is not patriotic to call upon Russia to intervene in an American presidential election. It is not patriotic to cite Russian propaganda at rallies. It is not patriotic to share an adviser with Russian oligarchs. It is not patriotic to solicit foreign policy advice from someone who owns shares in a Russian energy company. It is not patriotic to read a foreign policy speech written by someone on the payroll of a Russian energy company. It is not patriotic to appoint a national security adviser who has taken money from a Russian propaganda organ. It is not patriotic to appoint as secretary of state an oilman with Russian financial interests who is the director of a Russian-American energy company and has received the “Order of Friendship” from Putin. The point is not that Russia and America must be enemies. The point is that patriotism involves serving your own country.” – Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

About Tietsu

Someday the words that fill my brain will fill cheap paperback books. Until then, I will collect them here.
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