Books · The World

On Tyranny – Little Things You Can Do To Save The World

In America, we have the assumption that tyranny naturally comes from the government. After all, our whole origin story is based on some scrappy settlers rebelling against a meddling, powerful empire.

But the January 6 siege of the US Capital showed us that tyranny can also come from common American citizens, determined to disrupt the own constitutional process, spurred on by distributing, nonsensical, violent theories. It’s a reminder that tyranny can happen here, and it may come from the most unexpected sources. 🤔

“We see ourselves as a city on the hill, a stronghold of democracy, looking out for threats that come from abroad. But… human nature is such that American democracy must be defended from Americans who would exploit its freedoms to bring about its end.”

With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to visit practical tips from book On Tyranny. This book is full of simple lessons from 20th century Europe that we can apply to our own lives to help maintain our freedom in this really weird modern American scenario.

On Tyranny book cover
Look for the fun graphic edition coming this summer. 🙃

Contribute to good causes. (Some ideas: help make good information accessible, empower people, fight hate, or go local.)

Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. Then you will have made a free choice that supports civil society and helps others to do good.

Support a newspaper or a magazine. Real journalism is tough work and needs your support.

“Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.”

Support the multi-party system. It is critical to have viable liberal and conservative parties vying for power.

Support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.

Be inclusive. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

“You might one day be offered the opportunity to display symbols of loyalty. Make sure that such symbols include your fellow citizens rather than exclude them.”

I try my best. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Practice professional ethics. State election officials got tested this time around but stood strong, even dealing with violet threats. It’s a reminder that democracy doesn’t just happen automatically.

Maintain your rational, independent thought and individualism. Don’t let yourself get duped into something just because you like being part of a group (looking at you, yoga moms).

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

The renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual—and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism.

Be a patriot. Love your country and the best of what it stands for.

A patriot… wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves.

A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.

So there are some simple things anyone can do to help. It’s easy but also hard.

Books · Quotes

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”

I try to read A Christmas Carol this time every year 🎄 to glean its lessons anew. Ebenezer Scrooge is a nice little annual kick in the butt!

This year, Marley’s ghost and his minions especially spoke out to me. 👻

The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

The story is not just about being a better person and having some heart, but is also about the pain of regret: failing to impact the world for the better while you have the chance.

No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.

I definitely recommend the Patrick Stewart reading of this book. He brings out the urgency and freshness of it, even though the book is nearly 200 years old!

Books

The 50 Best Memoirs

Some of my very favorite books are memoirs…  I Suck at Girls, The Last Black Unicorn, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Yes Please, it goes on and on. A member is like living someone else’s life for a while. Or even better… just the funny, inspiring, painful, or embarrassing parts. You learn a bit about someone you admire and usually their struggle and their particular outlook on life.

So I’m adding a link to the 50 best memoirs (according to the Ney York Times, but who else would you even ask?) to my fledgling book section. Now I have 50 more amazing books to eventually read but probably never will. 😂