Course Overview

Since the time of Thucydides in ancient Greece, it was well known that the principal threat to democracy was the charismatic demagogic.  In modern society, this has evolved into fascist movements built around an often repeated “Big Lie” rooted in historic resentments. Contributing factors include ultra-nationalism, militarism, the scapegoating of ethnic minorities, the promotion of street violence and chaos, undermining democratic safeguards like the rule of law and the separation of powers and the worship of a Great Leader.  How has fascism and authoritarianism found a home in the 21st century?  How does the war in Ukraine and the upcoming struggle over Taiwan and the western Pacific reflect these dynamics?  This presentation will draw on work ranging from Eric Fromm in the 1940's to the modern analysts Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder, Jason Stanley and Masha Gessen.

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