Is your freedom under threat? The answer was found when Gordon White joined me to talk to Mattias Desmet on his alarming new book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism. Drawing on 20th-century history and today’s unstable social climate, Desmet argues that mass anxiety can pave the way for the rise of authoritarianism by undermining critical thinking across society. Through the idea of “mass formation,” new forms of totalitarianism can exploit psychological vulnerabilities in the population, leading people to sacrifice liberty and individuality to approve leaders and causes. Desmet sees echoes today of the conditions that led to totalitarian regimes in the past.
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