Monday, 26 June 2017
A database of the normalization of autocracy
Those who have studied authoritarianism, both historical and contemporary, have argued for the importance of recogonizing how authoritarian governments take hold — often with incremental changes that seem shocking at first but quickly become normalized.
Amy Siskind took this heart and has, since Trump's inauguration, documented every small change to American political norms she's observed and put them in weekly medium posts. Each post begins with: “Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.” Now, in Week 32, every item has a source link, and rather than just a few items, there are dozens. Siskind is not alone. On Twitter, for example, designer Laura Olin created @_rememberbot, where frequent tweets begin with the words “It is not normal” and catalogue the oddities of TrumpWorld. (“It is not normal for U.S. presidents to criticize federal judges.”) But Siskind is most likely the most systematic.
Here is a searchable database of all her lists.
It makes sobering reading for how much things have changed incrementally and how much has become normalized.