- Ruth Ben-Ghiat: Authoritarians are often ungenerous people, but they do give us one gift
- They tell us what they are going to do before they do it, both as an intimidation and as a challenge, she writes
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion, and professor of history and Italian studies at New York University. She is currently working on a book entitled "Strongmen: From Mussolini to Trump." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN)Sometimes political change happens suddenly. You wake up, and a military junta has taken over your country, or some other kind of revolution has happened. But other times, the climate shifts little by little. A few big gestures of aggression, and then things settle down. Then the cycle repeats, until one day the tipping point is reached and you find your democracy has been transformed into an autocracy.