What is Totalitarianism? A Retrospective

What Is Totalitarianism? – Part I

  • What is totalitarianism in theory? If the United States came under the control of a totalitarian regime, would we recognize it?

What Is Totalitarianism? – Part II

  • What is totalitarianism in fact? How does totalitarianism assert itself throughout the world? What ideologies support its growth?

A number of criticisms of this piece rest on misunderstandings of the definitions of the words I used. It’s not that the words are complex-the problem is that many of these words were once used specifically and are now used generally. I use their specific and historical definitions in order to be as precise as possible. So when I say “Unlike the three political parties of North Korea , political parties in the United States are not united in a common front” I mean something very specific. I do not mean that the Democrats and Republicans never cooperate, share common interests, shut out third parties, or aren’t often greased from the same source. A “front” refers to a political coalition or movement to achieve a particular end. That is its own type of animal. Wikipedia has some historical examples.

The question of totalitarianism is a serious one, and one about which we need to be more educated here in the United States. It would be a shame if we fell into totalitarianism without actually ever knowing what it was. That was the purpose of the question with which I opened the piece: If the United States came under the control of a totalitarian regime, would we recognize it?

The answer to that question for the average American is, of course, no. Many Americans might even cheer its onset, not understanding what it was. There are elements in the totalitarian system that appeal to everyone. The problem arrises when those elements are combined, and once they are combined, there is very little the common man can do to throw off its yolk. That was the tragedy of the Russian Revolution. They thought they were ending a tyranny, but what they brought about was 100 times worse than the monarchy ever was.

In our political struggle, whatever side you are on, we need to be very careful that we don’t let political rivalries destroy the precious little freedom we have left. Scoring points against your opponents should never come at the expense of our liberties-something that has happened all too frequently in American history. We so frighteningly close. It’s time to start backing away from the brink…

If you enjoy my writing, you should order One Voice,  a collection of my earlier columns and editorials. You can order it from Amazon.com or from the website Raiseyourvoice.us.

Topics include Consumerism and its harm to our society, The importance of individual liberty, The importance of individual responsibility to family and community, Victim-mentality and why it is harmful to the individual, How to solve drug abuse without throwing everyone in prison, How we can apply ancient wisdom to modern life, And much more!

About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on February 8, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Well put Mike. I think this article can also add to the dialogue: http://www.broadsnark.com/collaborating-across-the-divide/.

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