Resolute Square

Ruth Ben-Ghiat

American historian and cultural critic, an expert on fascism and authoritarianism.
Credit: Ruth Ben-Ghiat

About Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University. She is an MSNBC Opinion Columnist and commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and other media outlets about authoritarianism, Fascism, and threats to democracy around the world.
Her latest book, Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present (W.W. Norton & Company) examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century.
Subscribe to Lucid, her Substack newsletter about democracy and autocracy.

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Ritual Humiliation: The Favorite Sport of Autocrats
Ruth Ben-Ghiat taps into how public shaming and divide-and-rule tactics used by autocrats create toxic environments of fear and insecurity, where opportunists thrive at the expense of individual dignity and the good of the people.
February 15, 2024
When Rule of Law Becomes Rule of the Lawless
Ruth Ben Ghiat explains how Pinochet's Chile is a warning for us today.
February 9, 2024
It Can't Happen Here: Denial, Detachment, and the Desire for Normality
Ruth Ben-Ghiat looks into the consequences of underestimating the danger of authoritarianism and stresses the importance of staying informed and actively defending democracy.
February 1, 2024
How Fascism Is Being Normalized In Italy.
"Even a mass of blackshirts saluting the dead Duce in 2024 does not seem objectionable to the neo-Fascist Prime Minister,"writes Ruth Ben-Ghiat.
January 25, 2024
Trump's Holiness Rises as His Corruption is Revealed, in the Best Authoritarian Tradition
Ruth Ben-Ghiat sheds light on the unsettling rise of Donald Trump's "holiness" amidst corruption revelations, exploring the manipulation of faith and parallels with authoritarian leaders throughout history.
January 18, 2024
"Swatting" - Signaling Democratic Decline And Illuminating Pathologies
"The ultimate goal of swatting is to stress institutions, create uncertainty in ways that intersect with conspiracy theories and lead people to feel that society is degenerating," writes Ruth Ben-Ghiat.
January 11, 2024
Authoritarians And Their Sons-In-Law From Mussolini To Trump: Partners in Corruption
Ruth Ben-Ghiat discusses the corrupt tradition of sons-in-law in the inner sanctums of dictators, their roles in corruption, and their potential as scapegoats.
January 4, 2024
The Wall And The Drill: Authoritarianism Means Controls For Some, License To Plunder for Others
Ruth Ben-Ghiat writes, "Xenophobia and plunder: what would authoritarianism be without them?"
December 21, 2023
Be Alert to What is Right
"With the threat of authoritarianism growing around the is easy to be laser-focused on what is wrong," writes Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She also reminds us that it's essential to be alert to what's right.
December 14, 2023
Protecting Criminals is Now the GOP's Job as an Autocratic Party
From Ruth Ben-Ghiat: "Crime, and the law, have a different meaning for authoritarians and their enablers. In the amoral and transactional world of leaders such as Trump, all means are justified to get to power and stay there."
December 12, 2023
The New Wave of Fake Populists Who Serve Elites While Claiming to Stand for the People
Ruth Ben-Ghiat writes: "Strongmen scams recur throughout authoritarian history, not least because they are at the heart of autocratic personality cults that celebrate the leader as a man of the people." Sound familiar?
December 7, 2023
"Lock Them Up": Trump's Authoritarian Plans for 2025
Controlling bodies in jails, camps, and psychiatric institutions makes strongmen feel powerful, writes historian and authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat.
November 29, 2023
Trump's Latest Speech Echoes Fascist Rhetoric
Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat writes about Trump's latest speech and his convincing Mussolini and Hitler impressions - dehumanizing his enemies using their tried and true tactics that led to genocide.
November 16, 2023