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How To Spot Authoritarianism — and Choose Democracy | Ian Bassin | TED

Democracy is about having choices — and authoritarianism is about not having them, says lawyer and writer Ian Bassin. Detailing the seven steps of the authoritarian playbook, he invites us all to put aside our differences and rethink our role in the fight for freedom, revealing the hope and power behind every choice we make.…



Democracy is about having choices — and authoritarianism is about not having them, says lawyer and writer Ian Bassin. Detailing the seven steps of the authoritarian playbook, he invites us all to put aside our differences and rethink our role in the fight for freedom, revealing the hope and power behind every choice we make.

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  1. @cianbuckley2474

    June 18, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    The irony seems lost on this so called “liberal”

  2. @arcadiagreen150

    June 18, 2024 at 5:02 pm

    Notice how he never makes mention of the tactics his own prefered side uses? This is a diatribe of grievances not education towards recognition.

  3. @marcinostrowski6511

    June 18, 2024 at 5:12 pm

    I thought he was Jeremy Strong

  4. @Anonymousbred

    June 18, 2024 at 5:22 pm

    Could y’all just chill if I see one more comment about trump or Biden I will be so mad

  5. @annonimiss6422

    June 18, 2024 at 5:27 pm

    Watch this if you want a whole lot of irony.

  6. @SK-gc7xv

    June 18, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Step 1: Never vote for anyone with an R or D (much less L or G) after their name. They’re a far bigger enemy than any external threat right now, and until they’re out of the way, the only future we have is continued decline. Unfortunately, his organization’s goal is to merely protect one corrupt faction’s hold on power.

  7. @a.i.8583

    June 18, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    The people who say, “we must protect democracy ” are the authoritarians

  8. @a.i.8583

    June 18, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    3:53 he begins listing off everything the Biden administration is doing.

  9. @HeyMyNameIs...

    June 18, 2024 at 5:57 pm

    For a second, i thought is Kendell Roy doing Ted talks.

  10. @alexcipriani6003

    June 18, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    Are you asking us to preserve the current system ?
    What if we don’t like the current system ?
    Why not first acknowledge the source of the discontent and it’s perpetrators.
    Come up with exact plans on how will you do better.
    This is a supply and demand problem the dictators wouldn’t have an audience if the system didn’t already create an audience for them.
    I think we are all tired of choosing the lesser of two evils since that simply maintains the status quo without meaningful changes.

  11. @BenTheThird

    June 18, 2024 at 6:24 pm

    These exact reasons are why trump is going to win the next election – to protect our democracy from the left.

    • @dallenpowell2745

      June 18, 2024 at 9:16 pm

      Please read Project 2025.

  12. @jeffmilligan

    June 18, 2024 at 6:36 pm


  13. @RodChapman

    June 18, 2024 at 6:37 pm

    Those who dont learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Without a preferential voting system or a run-off 2nd round, America is basically forced to pick which one of 2 candidates is least bad. Unfortunately the crystal ball is opaque and there is a high probability that both candidates could in future be historically judged as a bad choice for differing reasons. So i guess the second round longer-term question is which candidate is likely to uphold the critical democratic institutions so that a democracy can be preserved to be able to pick better candidates next time? The answer to this second question appears to point heavily in one direction. It is possibly easier to see as an outsider not caught in the short term issues and emotions faced by Americans. Good luck, America, you got this, I believe in you❤

    • @ATHIP12

      June 18, 2024 at 6:45 pm

      As an American, I don’t see this election as picking the next leader. I see it as saving our system of government. One candidate has actively worked to tear it down through election denial and sending a mob into the Capitol. There is no other way to see it. I hope the rest of the country also recognizes what is at stake.

  14. @Chris-pt6hh

    June 18, 2024 at 7:03 pm

    “nuh uh!” the convicted felon supporters screech with their fingers in their ears

  15. @lebre.

    June 18, 2024 at 7:05 pm

    I clicked because I thought Jeremy Strong was giving a talk 😅

  16. @WeylandLabs

    June 18, 2024 at 7:15 pm

    The real narrative here serves as both a warning against rising authoritarianism and a call to action for safeguarding democratic principles. Lets try to not be people of algorithms, and more towards helping one another to understand better.

  17. @JustWantedToGrill

    June 18, 2024 at 7:22 pm

    Why this assumption that authoritarianism is automatically bad? Maybe useful to rethink your priors.

    • @dallenpowell2745

      June 18, 2024 at 9:06 pm

      Authoritarianism is bad. It’s a fact and I will argue with you all day if I have to. Every citizen deserves the right to participate in the political process they live within. The reason everything is failing is because our politicians have become beholden to CEOs, shareholders, lobbyists, and wealthy donors at the top at the cost of true democracy. We have the technology and ability now to move from a representative democracy to a direct democracy where every vote matters and every citizen gets a say in the systems they live within. We need to update our election process to more fully reflect the desires of the people instead of benefitting a privileged, powerful few at the top.

  18. @lolmao500

    June 18, 2024 at 7:23 pm

    How to spot authoritarianism : easy. It calls itself conservatism. Every. Single. Time.

  19. @JustWantedToGrill

    June 18, 2024 at 7:40 pm

    Funny. Those seven steps are all carried out by liberal democracies all the time, including the U.S. government. Why is it bad when an authoritarian (who can be easily identified as the cause of any negative effects flowing from his decisions) does it and totally cool when a large and diverse group of elected politicians (who can just blame other parties and individuals when their policies suck) does it?

  20. @davebetts

    June 18, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    A good overarching message but wrapped in an astonishing amount of bias and political blindness.

    • @dallenpowell2745

      June 18, 2024 at 8:58 pm

      How so? What specifically do you disagree with this take on Anti-Authoritarianism? I’m genuinely curious.

  21. @jimvenable8253

    June 18, 2024 at 8:07 pm

    I had to quit watching this video just after the 7 steps were presented since it was grossly obvious that every one of them applied strongly to the Democrat Party and the Obama and Biden Administrations. The 7 steps presentation were followed by accusing Donald Trump of these things, but it clear that the Democrats are bent on destroying the election process and America becoming an autocratic state, removing the rights of the citizens and seeking to maintain their power and control forever. They are wicked.

    • @dallenpowell2745

      June 18, 2024 at 9:13 pm

      Which rights are the Democrats threatening to take away? I’m genuinely asking.

  22. @ingislakur

    June 18, 2024 at 8:16 pm

    What about Bukele?

  23. @trevc63

    June 18, 2024 at 8:46 pm

    I like this chill nerdy Kendall way more

  24. @MCR0709

    June 18, 2024 at 9:15 pm

    In America you have 2 choices and people are determined that’s feudalism.

  25. @brandydavis1093

    June 19, 2024 at 7:42 am

    This is one of the most powerful Ted Talks for us to listen to pre-election. Thank you.

  26. @TatianadaCostaCookieDesign

    June 19, 2024 at 8:05 am

    I’m the oldest son!

  27. @Ribberflavenous

    June 19, 2024 at 8:57 am

    If you have any doubts whether authoritarian movements are active in the US, just look up Project 2025, then look at who is quoting it, and who is admonishing it.

  28. @BeLoud13

    June 19, 2024 at 9:13 am

    So, it turns out, it’s improper to use the judicial system as a weapon against one’s enemies. That’s a good rule.

    • @toddchavez8274

      June 19, 2024 at 11:01 am

      Who’s doing that? We have no laws governing the direct handling of public officials so they’re doing just fine. Public figures – private citizens – however, we DO have laws for, and the basic rules of prosecutorial discretion apply.

  29. @BeLoud13

    June 19, 2024 at 9:16 am

    The liberals accuse conservatives of wanting to do this, while the liberals are doing it in spades.

  30. @tofast4u69100

    June 19, 2024 at 10:42 am

    So bias. His point is dead on. His finger pointing is completely one sided. The political system is built exactly in his own explanation, putting you against me in order to keep control.

    True Democracy is Pure EVIL!

  31. @dianewaters3202

    June 19, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Attacking civil servants is insidious. Most civil servant work through numerous administrations, staying neutral, administering programs that were enacted into law by legislators, and keeping the country running.

    • @dominique217

      June 19, 2024 at 1:31 pm

      This. And they don’t grow on trees. The damage that will be done to support services Americans depend on will take more than a generation to undo.

      Most won’t understand until it happens, and then it will be too late.

    • @dianewaters3202

      June 19, 2024 at 1:47 pm

      @@dominique217 yes, exactly. The constant attack on teachers has lead to so many teachers leaving the profession or choosing another profession to begin with. Then when there are teacher shortages everyone acts shocked that no one wants to be a teacher.

  32. @Kganki.N.Mphahlele

    June 19, 2024 at 12:33 pm

    Why is it that language is biased in a manner than a rich tycoon from Russia is an oligarch but from America is a businessman.

    For example, Roman Abramovich is an oligarch but Elon Musk is a businessman, Jeff Bezos is a creative genius, Bill Gates is an innovator.

    When it favours the west it’s business, when it favours the east its other extreme names like oligarchs, and whatevr. 🦒🦒

  33. @izzoaum

    June 19, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    The Americans who say “it can’t happen here” have been ignoring reality for the past 20+ years and are cheering-on authoritarianism as propagandized people always do in fascist societies.

  34. @LeXyS30

    June 19, 2024 at 1:01 pm

    Had to triple check if it was Jeremy Strong or not

  35. @chaunceyphilpot3986

    June 19, 2024 at 1:38 pm

    I knew he was going to say Trump but it’s interesting he doesn’t point out the things democrats are doing : /

    Politicizing Institutions: BLM and “Defund the police” They managed to politicize an institution while simultaneously pushing racial tensions. And before you say “Democrats didn’t do that” Well they sure as heck didn’t try and stop it. They cheered for it. There were ACTUAL calls for violence from democrats.

    They’ve been trying to use the judicial system to arrest Trump. They are ACTIVELY using the legal system to silence an opponent… And the only thing they can get him on is…over estimating real-estate… If he really did all those other things this guy is saying he did, I suspect they could throw him in jail for something more serious.

    They are trying to control speech through technology companies. THEY are actively pushing disinformation on a large scale. Republicans are the ones pushing for open and free speech. The democrats are the ones trying to control it. During covid, democrats pushed for control and isolation while republicans pushed for freedom.

    Are we really going to sit here and pretend like republicans are the “authoritarians”?

  36. @toddchavez8274

    June 19, 2024 at 1:55 pm

    Very good talk. Thanks for taking the time. Those binders should be merged into a bill.

  37. @sarnan10

    June 19, 2024 at 4:03 pm

    Modi just identified with this lecture 😊

  38. @felixccaa

    June 19, 2024 at 4:11 pm

    this is US propaganda – it’s not about authoritarianism, it’s about causing war and keeping it going, because the biggest fear is not to be #1 – oh, wait, the US is only #1 in danger for peace for the last 100 yrs – yeah, well done

    “authoritarianism” is like “war on terror” the wording US propaganda uses to start wars around the world and kill ppl arbitrarily

  39. @Celis.C

    June 19, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    The US is not a democracy. Its people may believe it to be, they may hold its values, they can cast a vote, but there’s where any similarity ends.

  40. @jacobstamm

    June 19, 2024 at 5:16 pm

    People turn to authoritarianism when they think liberal systems are failing them. And here’s the kicker… sometimes, it does work. Look no further than San Salvador.

  41. @Missy-Missy1111

    June 19, 2024 at 5:39 pm

    Trump proclaims, “What you’re seeing and you’re reading is not what’s happening.” (July 28, 2018). My best friend believes that the media edits or uses AI to make what Trump says or does look bad & negative. She believes that he is an altruistic, compassionate, faithful, honest, business Tycoon genius. Trump has made the media persona non gratis. Therefore, I cannot prove to my friend that he is a dangerous, horrible con man.

  42. @Turdfergusen382

    June 19, 2024 at 5:59 pm

    First TED talk I have listen to in many years. Still the some dull monotone virtual signaling it’s always been unfortunately. This platform is for the neoliberalism, but this guy closer to the truth than most.

  43. @jimwilson3837

    June 19, 2024 at 6:47 pm

    Governments lie to us because it works. Congress gets rich, inflation soars, crime rises, idiots rule. Read the Sovereign Individual, and 1984. It’s too late for “democracy”.

  44. @auyeungstephen2878

    June 19, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    The politics is insane, especially in America, people can only choose either Biden or Trump. Is it real democracy? I think we can train a open source LLM to be president which even better than choosing two old man.

  45. @JohnQPublic11

    June 19, 2024 at 11:04 pm

    If you want fascism and you want to live in an authoritarian state believe what this guy is selling.

  46. @GgG-tu4cl

    June 20, 2024 at 7:45 am

    AI로 국정원 하나회 친일쿠테타사이비 다 청산할수 있는 시대입니다 국외 도피한 ‘계엄 문건’ 조현천, 월 450만원 연금 받는다계엄문건 공개 직후 가족과 연락 끊어
    합수단 “상당한 실력의 법률전문가 조언 받는듯”
    12·12 가담 헌병감 캐나다로 도주 23년간이나 은신 전례

  47. @visavis077

    June 20, 2024 at 9:44 am

    We can do direct democracy today, with AI to manage, internet to connect, Reddit could be individualized caucuses for various groups of citizens where we debate the issues on the merits. I feels, though we the people may form the government as said in the constitution, but it certainly feels like the government is this bureaucratic business thing that operates with a political class. What if the ideas directly came from the people. So many times these days you have the candidates being like here’s what I think, but the job is public service… why do they not solely answer to the people and Inact their will…

    Like I think most people have smart phones today and a lot of people know about VPN…. Could we not just vote on proposals from our phone? Like a push notification that requires a VPn connection

  48. @elmejia7

    June 20, 2024 at 11:52 am

    Mexico is one step away from completing the playbook after our latest elections.

    • @stephaneprivate1013

      June 25, 2024 at 5:31 am

      Pues animo compañero, aqui en Francia, con el rey Macron 1er es lo mismo, poco a poco la democracia por la que lucharon mis padres y abuelos esta desapareciendo con un grado de indiferencia y complicidad de los medias halucinante.
      El fenomeno es mundial

  49. @sojournern

    June 20, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    Trump wants you to make him a dictator. Don’t. Yes, our system is messed up, we have political theatre instead of gov by the people. A real gov by the people would have everyday people making decisions in something like a citizen’s assembly. But that would not get the clicks trump and his chaotic insanity gets, and it wouldn’t have the money of billionaires behind it. It would just be serious government, and not entertainment.

  50. @prieztus

    June 21, 2024 at 2:19 am

    How to spot authoritarianism: Look at either main American political party

    How to choose democracy: Vote Kennedy

  51. @OptimisticHominid

    June 21, 2024 at 2:23 am

    The power to choose is being taken away by locking people into an untrue reality and hijacking their vote. Fox “News” is a major player in achieving this, and they know it.

  52. @nawarsatayhi4138

    June 21, 2024 at 5:49 am

    Kendell roy omg

  53. @Voyamis

    June 21, 2024 at 8:05 am

    Interesting that all the main points and indicators are all about Biden and his authoritarianism. (most executive orders ever as a dictator. Jailing his opposition etc). Yet this guy turns it into Trump 😂. What a clown. Karl Marx said call your enemy what you really are in order to create confusion. That’s happened over and over – everything that Biden said about Trump was really about himself. Everything. And the lies about the laptop being Russian disinformation, factual proof of Biden being the racist – factual proof about Obama/ Biden being the ones to put the kids in cages. Biden is certainly using the authoritarian playbook of dismantling the system from within. He is pitting people against each other. They incited violence a few years ago with our cities burning.. Banning this and that incl gas stoves snd banning dissent through threat and intimidation. A simple fact – socialist and marxists throughout history have destroyed “democracies” / countries. All you have to do is see who is the socialist – andvwho is engaging in these activities and it’s clearly Joe Biden. The famous George Orwell quote is quite appropriate. Use your ears and eyes to see what’s going on and don’t get duped by thr propaganda.

  54. @peterolah3317

    June 21, 2024 at 10:30 am

    Excellent speech, very important; for anyone wanting a good book on this subject, Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen here”, old book, but very relevant to today’s American political landscape.

  55. @user-ck6bf3ke1w

    June 21, 2024 at 4:34 pm

    Respect the nation’s majority vote in 2024 please.

  56. @joelpichette

    June 21, 2024 at 6:12 pm

    Authoritarianism is to listen to Sam and democracy is having to make a choice but only between biden or trump, no one else in the 300,000,000 americans.

  57. @LosCurrans

    June 22, 2024 at 3:22 am

    Amazing talk! 🎉

  58. @sureshbajaj6031

    June 22, 2024 at 6:58 am

    They also destroy places of learning eg india most educational institutions being run by right wing people

  59. @RJ-go3sn

    June 22, 2024 at 2:17 pm

    Profound awakened slap. Thank you.

  60. @andycordy5190

    June 22, 2024 at 4:34 pm

    Eloquent and restorative. Donald Trump and the damage he has done are not going away without a fight and those who support his idea of America are legion, powerful and dangerous behind his media smokescreen and cowardly bullies when they are exposed. We must expose them.

  61. @unbvld

    June 22, 2024 at 5:17 pm

    I was hoping for a bipartisan Ted talk about authoritarianism. Instead I got trump this trump that. There’s no side that’s better than the other.
    Both modern day democrats and modern day republicans are cancerous. The way I see it, the nation dug itself into a massive hole you or I cannot get out of. It’s going to be a long time before we can get to bipartisan consensus. Making this video shows me that you want to be the team who wins in November. Sad

  62. @Flyboy243

    June 22, 2024 at 10:16 pm

    Every high school student needs to see this before November. American, Russian, Hungarian, Venezuelan or Chinese.

  63. @dino0228

    June 23, 2024 at 10:50 pm

    Not for anything, but why keep all those precious binder contents to hand from one administration to the next in a plastic bag? And why keep them from administration that needed to see them – even copies would have helped! And why aren’t some of those things law??? No wonder Project 2025 is able to pulled off! The US never codified anything that would say it’s illegal! I’m just frustrated about the whole thing, of course. But really: if we want to keep a liberal democracy, we need to codify the elements that ensure it can’t be undone.

  64. @Henrich205

    June 24, 2024 at 5:16 am

    Great speech.

  65. @JoãoPaula-y9e

    June 24, 2024 at 11:44 am

    Thats why we brazilians chose to face authoritarianism by electing Lula again and we’re still fighting to protect our rights from the remaining efects of the prevoius thyrany and its consequences here…

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