The aspiring tyrants of today have not forgotten the lesson of 1933: that acts of terror - real or fake, provoked or accidental - can provide the occasion to deal a death blow to democracy.
Trump's Twitter flood of late-night mendacity is an unhindered celebration of fragile manhood, a ceaseless summons to the millions for affirmation, a proclamation to vulnerable men across the land that endless preening and stroking is a normal and imitable way of life.
Totalitarianism is not about some state that appears out of nowhere and suddenly is all-powerful. There can't be any such thing. Totalitarianism starts when the difference between your public life and your private life is effaced.
I worry about global anti-Semitism - not just as a bad idea that originates from bad people, but also as something that arises as a challenge to global order.
It is aspiring tyrants who say that 'civil liberties end when an attack on our safety begins.' Conversely, leaders who wish to preserve the rule of law find other ways to speak about real terrorist threats, and certainly do not invent them or deliberately make them worse.
Brittle masculinity, in the right setting, becomes political atrocity. Strength brings problems; weakness brings others, but weakness posing as strength is the most dangerous of all.
People who lived in the 1920s and '30s and '40s were not so different from us. In some ways, they were probably better citizens than we are. They had longer attention spans, for example. Educated people tended to read a bit more than we did.
We think about democracy, and that's the word that Americans love to use, 'democracy,' and that's how we characterize our system. But if democracy just means going to vote, it's pretty meaningless. Russia has democracy in that sense. Most authoritarian regimes have democracy in that sense.
Getting out to protest, this is something real and, I would say, something patriotic. Part of the new authoritarianism is to get people to prefer fiction and inaction to reality and action.
Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
The 20th century shows that the form of government that we take for granted, a constitutional democratic republic with checks and balances and a rule of law - that form of government is usually temporary.
It is unclear how much money Trump has, but it is not enough to matter in Russia. If he keeps up his pose as the tough billionaire, he will be flattered by the Russian media, scorned by those who matter in Russia, and then easily crushed by men far richer and smarter than he.
For the Russians, the displacement of the Holocaust is calculated and cynical. It's not emotional; they don't care about the Holocaust one way or another. They only care about it insofar as they can use it to manipulate a German sense of guilt.
It's easy for us to congratulate ourselves on our own moral superiority when compared to the 1930s, but I'm not sure that we're actually right about that. In most of the West, we simply haven't been tested in the same way. And when we are tested, we often fail.
Democracy only has substance if there's the rule of law. That is, if people believe that the votes are going to be counted, and they are counted. If they believe that there's a judiciary out there that will make sense of things if there's some challenge. If there isn't rule of law, people will be afraid to vote the way they want to vote.
Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of 'our institutions' unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don't protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
In the descent from a world of factual discourse into a world of emotions and alternative realities, the first step you take, whether you're the Russian media, whether you're Breitbart, is that you manufacture lots of stuff that isn't true. The second step is that you claim that everyone is like this.
I thought I was going to grow up and become a diplomat and negotiate nuclear arms.
Very often, when leaders repeat things over and over, they are preparing you for when that meme actually emerges in reality.
Americans can accept that the American Dream will not work out for them; what has been heartbreaking for so many is the sense that their children will have it even worse.