Pittsburgh Freethought Community
Promoting Science, Reason and Humanist Values
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  • Thursday, January 16, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church 1240 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon, Pa


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The topic for this session is the rise/revival of international populist authoritarianism. We will discuss some specific examples: populist authoritarian movements in Europe, the United States, Turkey, the Philippines, Russia (Putinism, including church-state alliance), Venezuela (left-wing populist authoritarianism), and so forth. Why are people drawn to authoritarianism? Do the present-day authoritarian movements bear any resemblance to past historical episodes, for example Nazism?

References (not required reading):

Alan E. Johnson, review of Erich Fromm, “Escape from Freedom” (1941): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1738724661

Jason Kelly, “Can Democracy Survive?,” University of Chicago Magazine, spring 2019: https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/can-democracy-survive

Silvio Washbord, “Why Populism Is Troubling for Democratic Communication,” Communication Culture & Critique 11 (2018): 21-34: https://www.academia.edu/37309462/Why_Populism_is_Troubling_for_Democratic_Communication

On the bright side: “Slovakia Welcomes Its First Female President—And She’s an Environmental Activist,” Global Citizen, April 1, 2019: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/first-female-president-slovakia-caputova

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