On Tyranny from the people

An important message to be taken from “On Tyranny” by Timothy Snyder is how much power the people have. I find what is often missed, but has been a theme of the course, is how much the people are involved in Authortaism. Firstly the people themselves are often the ones who put the leader of the regime in power and help in many ways to build up their power. The way to combat these regimes is then also through the people which are the guide “On Tyranny” is giving- Snyder’s opinion on how to do this.

It is interesting to consider how much Authoritarian leaders do at the beginning of their reign to please the people before they turn to their more radical agenda. For example, they play on the grievances of the people saying how much they would like to fix things before actually making them worse in many cases to attain their political goals. It is possible that educating people will never be quite enough to eradicate such types of governments because people will become desperate enough to elect them (ie. economic poverty).

There is always the interesting question that comes up when thinking about an Authoritarian regime that has come to power and the people’s role in that case. If they are complicit by doing nothing about it because they don’t want to face the consequences of not supporting or if only doing what they were told is not really there fault because the consequence of doing otherwise (ie. protesting against the regime) often means severe punishment or death. However, one must know that if nobody supports a regime then it no longer has power but if they are silently complicit then it has power even over them. The tricky thing then is knowing there are really enough of you who would protest against the Authoritarian regime to make a difference and that is possibly where most people take the safer option.

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