Today is the anniversary of the Reichstag Fire Decree which is historically to the loss of liberty what the Magna Carta was to the spread of freedoms. It rescinded most civil liberties, including rights of assembly and freedom of the press, and allowed the police to detain people indefinitely without charges. It was like an anti-Constitution. While the Magna Carta was over 800 years ago, the decree was 90 years ago today. Freedom does not go in one direction on the timeline of humanity.
A great explorationinto the ongoing if not increasing dangers of reverting to lost liberty is Yuval Noah Harari’s TED talk “Why fascism is so tempting — and how your data could power it” with its very own with embrace of “ugly bits”:
- · “The enemies of liberal democracy, they have a method. They hack our feelings. Not our emails, not our bank accounts — they hack our feelings of fear and hate and vanity, and then use these feelings to polarize and destroy democracy from within. This is actually a method that Silicon Valley pioneered in order to sell us products. But now, the enemies of democracy are using this very method to sell us fear and hate and vanity. They cannot create these feelings out of nothing. So they get to know our own preexisting weaknesses. And then use them against us. And it is therefore the responsibility of all of us to get to know our weaknesses and make sure that they do not become a weapon in the hands of the enemies of democracy. Getting to know our own weaknesses will also help us to avoid the trap of the fascist mirror. As we explained earlier, fascism exploits our vanity. It makes us see ourselves as far more beautiful than we really are. This is the seduction. But if you really know yourself, you will not fall for this kind of flattery. If somebody puts a mirror in front of your eyes that hides all your ugly bits and makes you see yourself as far more beautiful and far more important than you really are, just break that mirror.”