Many people whom I listen to, and read from, have eschewed the idea that the #USA can slip into autocracy, but also many I get news content from were warning early on that it definitely can—and is—happening here.
The "jury" is out and the facts are in. We had a near miss, and it is not over. The woefully, dangerously, well-armed, misguided people who were effectively footsoldiers in this attempt did not see the errors of their ways and recant their thinking. They saw it as a tactic to growing their movement and are planning the next stages.
That is a convincing argument, but it's one that has hindsight as its aid. Suppose the historian had to decide what the cohesive ideology was as they were evaluating the aggregated news of the time as they first saw it instead of evaluating it many years after it happened.
Well, #MashaGessen has done something similar to that. I felt his words deeply when he said it and talked about what was seen in diaries and journals of the day as #Germany was becoming its worst. Those diaries match our perception of current events.
Compare the following two episodes of the #Throughline #Podcast. The first is an interview with a Historian specializing in inter-war Germany named Timothy Snyder. The second is with a Russian-American journalist, author, translator, and activist named Masha Gessen.
note Timothy's words at the 26:00 time mark
note Masha's words at the 15:00 time mark
Perhaps it's not obvious that I'm not denigrating Timothy's work based on his interview, so I'll specify that I liked what he said. I'm only picking at a little bit of it because Masha's thinking is superior about that point.
It's comparable to a lead section in Jordan Ellenberg’s wonderful book, “How Not To Be Wrong,” when he wrote about where to armor warplanes based on the bullet holes.
Military officers had gathered and studied bullet holes in the aircraft that returned from missions. One early thought was that the planes should have more armor where they had been hit the most— fuselage, fuel system, the rest of the plane— but not on the engines, which had the smallest number of bullet holes per square foot.
Abraham Wald, a leading mathematician, disagreed. Working with the SRG (Statistics Research Group) in Manhattan, he asked an odd question: Where were the missing bullet holes— the ones that would be all over the engine if bullets were equally distributed?
They were on the missing planes, the ones that had been shot down. So the vulnerable place wasn’t where all the bullet holes were on the returning planes. It was where the bullet holes were on the planes that didn’t return.
Restricting your measurements to a final sample, excluding part of the sample that didn’t survive, creates what statisticians call “survivor bias.” It can cause you to come to conclusions that are entirely wrong.
The commonality is using incomplete evidence and hindsight to determine truth/reality. Masha added more evidence.