SNYDER IS A DISGRACE – I used to have some respect for Timothy Snyder, the Yale historian who wrote the rather good “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” about the fate of Eastern European countries in the Nazi/communist meat grinder of the ’30s and the ’40s. Now I have none.
This from his interview with Salon’s Chauncey DeVega:
In your book [“On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”] you discuss the idea that Donald Trump will have his own version of Hitler’s Reichstag fire to expand his power and take full control of the government by declaring a state of emergency. How do you think that would play out?
Let me make just two points. The first is that I think it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try. The reason I think that is that the conventional ways of being popular are not working out for them. The conventional way to be popular or to be legitimate in this country is to have some policies, to grow your popularity ratings and to win some elections. I don’t think 2018 is looking very good for the Republicans along those conventional lines — not just because the president is historically unpopular. It’s also because neither the White House nor Congress have any policies which the majority of the public like.
This means they could be seduced by the notion of getting into a new rhythm of politics, one that does not depend upon popular policies and electoral cycles.
Whether it works or not depends upon whether when something terrible happens to this country, we are aware that the main significance of it is whether or not we are going to be more or less free citizens in the future.
My gut feeling is that Trump and his administration will try and that it won’t work. Not so much because we are so great but because we have a little bit of time to prepare. I also think that there are enough people and enough agencies of the government who have also thought about this and would not necessarily go along.
Snyder used to be a serious historian; now he is a serious hysterian.
If seemingly normal and intelligent people like Snyder have now gotten caught up in a moral panic that the United States is on the brink of a fascist dictatorship, we’re in a lot of bother. I can’t see Donald Trump declaring the martial law and suspending the Constitution, but I can easily see some impressionable soul, fed on a diet of Snyder et al, picking up a rifle and assassinating the “new Hitler” to save the American democracy.