Summary of Why Fascism Is So Tempting – and How Your Data Could Power It

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Why Fascism Is So Tempting – and How Your Data Could Power It summary


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Historian Yuval Noah Harari warns that spotting fascists isn’t easy. They don’t always appear as monsters. Moreover, Harari says, fascism in the 21st century won’t look like it did in the 1930s. Controlling data has become the focus of today’s fascists, and emerging technologies like AI may change politics. getAbstract recommends this intelligent talk, which Harari delivered via hologram from Tel Aviv, to those worried about threats to democracy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How nationalism and fascism differ,
  • How the concentration of data collection feeds into fascism,
  • What you can do to prevent the spread of fascism.

About the Speaker

Historian Yuval Noah Harari is the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.



People tend to use the word “fascist” as an all-purpose slur, or else they “confuse fascism with nationalism.” In its milder iterations, nationalism binds strangers together in cooperation. Songwriter John Lennon thought that without nationalism, the world would achieve peace. Instead, human societies would likely devolve into tribal violence. Whereas nationalism affirms that nations are unique and that citizens have a duty to their country, fascists claim to be supreme and aver that the obligations of citizens to the state supersede all other obligations, even to family. Most people have multiple identities: cultural, familial, and so on. Thus, human relationships are complex. Fascism seeks to simplify life by dissolving all loyalties into one: to serve country. When a fascist evaluates a work of art, or even education, the only yardstick is whether it serves the state’s agenda. 

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