Quotations by Snyder, Timothy


The ideal capitalism envisioned by advocates of the free market depends upon social virtues and wise policies that it does not itself generate.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, “Conclusion: Our World” (2015)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jul-21 | Last updated 21-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

When states are absent, rights — by any definition — are impossible to sustain. States are not structures to be taken for granted, exploited, or discarded, but are fruits of long and quiet effort.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, “Conclusion: Our World” (2015)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Jul-21 | Last updated 28-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Yet if states were destroyed, local institutions corrupted, and economic incentives directed towards murder, few of us would behave well. There is little reason to think that we are ethically superior to the Europeans of the 1930s and 1940s, or for that matter less vulnerable to the kind of ideas that Hitler so successfully promulgated and realized.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, “Conclusion” (2015)
    (Source)
Added on 18-Aug-21 | Last updated 18-Aug-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

It is tempting to say that a Nazi murderer is beyond the pale of understanding. […] Yet to deny a human being his human character is to render ethics impossible. To yield to this temptation, to find other people inhuman, is to take a step toward, not away from, the Nazi position. To find other people incomprehensible is to abandon the search for understanding, and thus to abandon history.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, “Conclusion” (2010)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 7-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

A nationalist encourages us to be our worst, and then tells us that we are the best. A nationalist, “although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge,” wrote Orwell, tends to be “uninterested in what happens in the real world.” Nationalism is relativist, since the only truth is the resentment we feel when we contemplate others. As the novelist Danilo Kiš put it, nationalism “has no universal values, aesthetic or ethical.” A patriot, by contrast, wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves. A patriot must be concerned with the real world, which is the only place where his country can be loved and sustained. A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well — and wishing that it would do better.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)

See Orwell.
Added on 21-Apr-21 | Last updated 21-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. This 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.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Apr-21 | Last updated 28-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of political parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. DO NOT FALL FOR IT.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 5-May-21 | Last updated 5-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

The mistake is to assume that rulers who came to power through institutions cannot change or destroy those very institutions — even when that is exactly what they have announced that they will do.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 12-May-21 | Last updated 12-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

If lawyers had followed the norm of no execution without trial, if doctors had accepted the rule of no surgery without consent, if businessmen had endorsed the prohibition of slavery, if bureaucrats had refused to handle paperwork involving murder, then the Nazi regime would have been much harder pressed to carry out the atrocities by which we remember it.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 19-May-21 | Last updated 19-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

A nationalist will say that “it can’t happen here,” which is the first step toward disaster. A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 26-May-21 | Last updated 26-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

The final mode is misplaced faith. It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.” When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience. What terrified Klemperer was the way that this transition seemed permanent. Once truth had become oracular rather than factual, evidence was irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. I believe in the Führer.”

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Jun-21 | Last updated 2-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying objective truth in favor of a glorious myth articulated by leaders who claimed to give voice to the people.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
Added on 30-Jun-21 | Last updated 30-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Life is political, not because the world cares about how you feel, but because the world reacts to what you do.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Aug-21 | Last updated 4-Aug-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die under tyranny.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Aug-21 | Last updated 25-Aug-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Post-truth is pre-fascism.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
Added on 22-Sep-21 | Last updated 22-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

“What is truth?” Sometimes people ask this question because they wish to do nothing. Generic cynicism makes us feel hip and alternative even as we slip along with our fellow citizens into a morass of indifference. It is your ability to discern facts that makes you an individual, and our collective trust in common knowledge that makes us a society.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 10 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Jun-21 | Last updated 16-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

The most intelligent of the Nazis, the legal theorist Carl Schmitt, explained in clear language the essence of fascist governance. The way to destroy all rules, he explained, was to focus on the idea of the exception. A Nazi leader outmaneuvers his opponents by manufacturing a general conviction that the present moment is exceptional, and then transforming that state of exception into a permanent emergency. Citizens then trade real freedom for fake safety.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 17 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Jun-21 | Last updated 9-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 18 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Aug-21 | Last updated 11-Aug-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny, ch. 10 (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

All citizens do have a measure of control, at least in democracies where their votes are counted, of how they belong to their nations. Perhaps they will have more confidence in unconventional choices if they see that each nation’s founders were disobedient and unpredictable, men and women of imagination and ambition. The steel of every national monument was once molten.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
The Red Prince, “Orange: European Revolutions” (2008)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Sep-21 | Last updated 8-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

The nation faces forward. It is made and remade every day. If we believe that the nation resides in the orderly recitations of history given to us by our leaders, then our story is over.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
The Red Prince, “Orange: European Revolutions” (2008)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Sep-21 | Last updated 15-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy