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Philosophy Talk: The Allure of Authoritarianism

Democracy may not be in great shape, but why would anyone prefer to be ruled by a despot?

In George Orwell’s 1984, the party’s “final, most essential command” was “to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.” Authoritarian regimes call on us to accept as fact whatever they tell us; or worse, as Hannah Arendt says, they get us to a point where we no longer know—or care about—the difference between fiction and reality. So why are so many so willing to reject the evidence of their senses and deny basic, confirmable truths? Is there something about human psychology that makes us susceptible to totalitarian propaganda? And as the appeal of authoritarian leaders grows around the world, how do we guard against such radical thought manipulation? Josh and Ken lure Michael Lynch from the University of Connecticut, author of Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture.

Join the conversation LIVE this Sunday 10/06 at 11 am by calling 1-800-525-9917 or catch the re-broadcast Tuesday 10/08 at 12 noon.