The Choices: Equality or Oligarchy; Individuality or Totality; Truth or Falsehood....Where is Democracy Going? - 7 weeks
S 2020


In his recent book, The Road To Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, Timothy Snyder reveals how and why liberal democracy has eroded in America and Western Europe since 2010. He asks the question, Are we losing our way and headed to "unfreedom"?

Snyder has written several books and many articles on the threats to democracy and the challenge to understand, restore, and renew the fundamental political virtues offered by liberal democratic traditions and demanded for its survival. In  Road To Unfreedom ,  he illuminates the significant role that Putin and Russia have played, and somewhat succeeded in creating chaos in W. European governments, and confusion by dividing and polarizing the EU and the US against themselves. To win back democratic traditions, we must understand the stark choices before us....between equality and oligarchy, individuality and totality, truth and falsehood, and make our choices. Snyder offers a way forward.

In this 7 week SDG, we will explore Snyder's analysis of how Putin re-shaped Post -Soviet Russia, put into practice the fascist and nationalist ideas of several modern Russian thinkers and created disruption and confusion in leading western democracies. We will examine Snyder's commentary and his call to concerned citizens as to what to do about the unraveling of democracy and the decay in our public, political life. What are the lessons? And,... What now?

Weekly Topics

  1. Introduction to Snyder's writings and Prologue to the book.;
  2. Individualism or Totalitarianism, Chapter 1; Succession or Failure, Chapter 2
  3. Integration or Empire, Chapter 3
  4. Novelty or Eternity, Chapter 4
  5. Truth or Lies, Chapter 5
  6. Equality or Oligarchy, Chaper 6
  7. Epilogue and Commentary on Snyder's lessons from the 20th Century



Core Book:  The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, Timothy Snyder, 2018

Other Sources

On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder, 2017)

 Weekly Standard, 2018

"The Road From Serfdom: How Americans can become Citizens again", The Atlantic. December, 2019

Interview with Rachel Maddow on TRMS, February 13, 2020