Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Book Recommendation, Part 3

     In her fabulous and relevant book Fascism: A Warning, Madeleine Albright lists some important questions to ask when assessing a potential leader.  In these times of political change, they might be wise questions to ask.
  • Do they cater to our prejudices by suggesting that we treat people outside our ethnicity, race, or party as unworthy of dignity and respect?
  • Do they want us to nurture our anger toward those who we believe have done us wrong, encourage our grievances, and aim for revenge?
  • Do they encourage us to have contempt for governing institutions and the electoral process?
  • Do they seek to destroy our faith in essentials to democracy such as an independent press and a professional judiciary?
  • Do they exploit the symbols of patriotism -- the flag, the pledge -- in a conscious effort to turn us against one another?
  • If defeated at the polls, would they accept the verdict or insist without evidence that they have won?
  • Do they brag about their ability to solve all problems, put to rest all anxieties, and satisfy every desire?
  • Do they solicit our cheers by speaking casually and with machismo about using violence to do away their enemies?
  • Do they echo the attitude of Mussolini:  "The crowd doesn't have to know," all it has to do is believe and "submit to being shaped"?
  • Or do they invite us to join with them in building and maintaining a healthy center for our societies, a place where rights and duties are apportioned fairly, the social contact is honored, and all have room to dream and grow?
     Important questions from an important book.  

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