The History Of Authoritarianism And Its Modern-Day Connections
From Mussolini to Putin, authoritarian demagogues of the past century have followed a blueprint that has been unnervingly replicated by Trump as President of the United States.
These so-called "strongmen" use masculinity as a symbol of strength, emphasize "law and order" while simultaneously legitimizing lawbreaking, and prioritize self-interest over the public good.
They systematically weaken critical institutions and erode political norms, employ propaganda, corruption and violence to achieve their goals and maintain control, and ultimately evade a peaceful transfer of power.
How does authoritarianism take hold throughout history? What conditions allow for the rise of authoritarian leadership?
How is this reflected in Trump's ascension to the presidency and actions while in office? What are the implications for U.S. democracy?
How is this style of leadership undermining democracy around the world, and what can be done to reverse course once a country is on the road to authoritarianism?
- Ruth Ben-Ghiat, professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, and author of "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present"
- Steven Levitsky, professor of government at Harvard University and co-author of "How Democracies Die"
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, December 14.