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Timothy Snyder: modern authoritarianism

 
 
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2021 11:29 am
Professor Timothy Snyder
Lecture and question and answer session.
https://youtu.be/FMkIYCeybBs

"Contemporary modern authoritarianism... doesn't have its own idea of truth...its opposition to the idea of truth is radical in its own way. What modern authoritarians tend to do...they tend to create deliberate uncertainty. If you look at the way the televised media in Russia... the way that it functions is to cast doubt on all media including itself. The claim of the Russian media, to be honest, is to claim that we are the only ones who are not telling the truth, and, therefore, we are the only ones who are honest because we're honest about the one truth which is that there is no truth. Therefore, we're not hypocritical, everyone else is a hypocrite because they pretend there is a truth, but we know there is no truth. We accept that there is no truth, therefore, we're not hypocritical. On the one hand there is an attempt to overwhelm everyone and disable politics by making everyone uncertain about what is in fact true because without a sense of factuality it's very hard to organize a civil society, very hard to organize an opposition."

" ... if you're an authoritarian and don't have a game plan to offer... you have a foreign policy which is essentially disintegrative... you want to encourage those who want to weaken it or bring it down [other countries that are more functional] to show that democracy and prosperity and the rule of law are not really possible and to show that they're not possible they have to break down countries as well."

[So rather than build up their own country and make it more functional, they (Russia) interfered in the U.S. election to get Trump elected and further breakdown the U.S.]

" ...Mr Trump knows perfectly well down to his bones that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than he is...and Mr Putin knows that if had Hillary Clinton became president of the United States, she would become a more powerful president than he could ever be."

 
maxdancona
 
  -4  
Reply Wed 24 Nov, 2021 02:06 pm
@coluber2001,
I think the contrary.

1. Authoritarian regimes are generally based on the idea that there is an absolute truth.

2. Trump offered certainty. He wasn't arguing that there was uncertainty, quite the contrary. He was arguing that he knew what was best and that there was no doubt.

Is this guy making the argument that questioning the dominant ideology is an authoritarian behavior? I don't think this makes sense.
coluber2001
 
  3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 08:47 am
@maxdancona,
What I posted is merely a fragment of the speech. Snyder is very knowledgeable on the subject of fascism and modern fascism, and he's an excellent speaker. It would be worth your while to listen to him.

maxdancona
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 09:15 am
@coluber2001,
coluber2001 wrote:

What I posted is merely a fragment of the speech. Snyder is very knowledgeable on the subject of fascism and modern fascism, and he's an excellent speaker. It would be worth your while to listen to him.



Do you see the irony here?
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 09:48 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Authoritarian regimes are generally based on the idea that there is an absolute truth

This is merely a tenet of your own "ideological narrative©" and not an accurate observation. Your contention in the following point illustrates the weakness of your argument:
Quote:
He wasn't arguing that there was uncertainty, quite the contrary.

Um...you never heard him railing against "fake news"? How ironic.
maxdancona
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 10:19 am
@hightor,
The term "fake news" isn't creating uncertainty. Trump believed that he had the Truth and that no one should question him.

Trump stated things with absolute certainty. He allowed no doubt in what he said and was upset when anyone, including the press, questioned him.

Are you really arguing that Trump wasn't an absolutist?
maxdancona
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 10:23 am
The left-wing extreme and the right-wing extreme are similar in this...

1. There is truth.
2. The truth is certain.
3. The truth should not be questioned.

0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 11:48 am
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Are you really arguing that Trump wasn't an absolutist?

Narcissism isn't the same as absolutism. Trump never had a coherent political philosophy. He never outlined a vision, let alone listed the steps he would take to get us there. Absolutism in a political context usually refers to centralized authority vested in one ruler or authority, and in that sense Trump, as a wannabe despot, was an absolutist but he never showed a coherent disciplined message. Build the wall, infrastructure week, lock her up, make America great again – none of these are part of a systematic political , nor do they proclaim an absolute truth. His egotism served to create uncertainty – look at his comments here:

Quote:
20 January: ‘We have it under control’

On 20 January the US recorded its first case of coronavirus. Two days later Trump told CNBC: “It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
26 February: ‘It’s going to disappear’

In late February, by which time the US had recorded 60 cases of infection, Trump told a White House press briefing: “When you have 15 people … within a couple of days it’s going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

The following day he returned to the theme, saying: “It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”
10 March: ‘It will go away’

By 10 March the coronavirus curve in the US was climbing steeply, with 37 official deaths and more than 1,000 confirmed cases.

On that day, Trump emerged from a meeting with Republican senators to tell the media how well the US was doing. “We’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”
29 April: ‘It’s gonna be gone’

Trump returned to the argument that the virus would just disappear at the end of April. The US had just notched up its millionth positive test for coronavirus, and reached 58,000 recorded deaths – an emotive figure given that it meant the virus had claimed more lives than the Vietnam war.

On 29 April, the president told reporters: “This is going away. It’s gonna go. It’s gonna leave. It’s gonna be gone. It’s going to be eradicated … If you have a flare-up in a certain area – I call them burning embers – boom, you put it out.”
11 May: ‘We have prevailed’

In a grandiose coronavirus briefing from the Rose Garden, Trump announced his administration was winning the fight against the virus. “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed. Americans do whatever it takes to find solutions, pioneer breakthroughs, and harness the energies we need to achieve a total victory.”

That day the death toll in the US hit 80,000.
17 June: ‘It’s fading away’

Trump carried on predicting that the disease would disappear of its own accord through June, a time when the virus was in fact spreading fast through huge swaths of the country. In a radio call to Fox News he said: “It’s fading away. It’s going to fade away. But having a vaccine would be really nice.”
19 July: ‘I’ll be right eventually’

Earlier this month, Fox News Sunday played back to Trump his many claims that the virus would disappear. The president shot back: “I’ll be right eventually. It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right.”

The show’s host, Chris Wallace, asked Trump whether dogged insistence that the virus would vanish, even while it proliferated, would discredit him. “I don’t think so, you know why?” he replied. “Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.”

source

His whole message was that the media and the CDC couldn't be trusted. I call that creating uncertainty. Especially as his predictions were continually shown to be false. I think I'd describe him primarily as a populist huckster – "absolutist" is almost too complimentary.
maxdancona
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 25 Nov, 2021 02:32 pm
@hightor,
I share your opinion of Trump.

My point was more about authoritarians in general. Most authoritarians are pushing an absolute truth at the same time they are attacking the press as liars. These two things are not contradictory.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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