What is Totalitarianism?

Mapa de craneos de victimas del comunismo

Map made of skulls of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia Communist, exhibited at the Tuol Sleng Museum.

It is known as a totalitarian ideologies, movements and political regimes where freedom is severely restricted and the state has all the power without divisions or restrictions (a much more intense, extensive theoretical and evolved the absolute power of the monarchies of the Old Regime).

Totalitarianism, or totalitarian regimes, differ from other autocratic regimes to be led by a political party that claims to be or behave in practice as a single party and merges with state institutions. These regimes, usually exalt the figure of a character who has unlimited power that reaches all areas and is manifested through the authority exercised hierarchically. Drive a mass movement which presume the whole society (for the purpose of forming a new man in a perfect society), and make heavy use of propaganda and various mechanisms of social control and repression as the secret police.

Totalitarianism is a form of state, namely, a way of organizing the four components of the (territory, population, government, and according to the author, also the legal or law). Totalitarianism is not simply a form of government, is an organization in terms of people who exercise power, entire state form, undemocratic type characterized as authoritarianism in the lack of recognition of freedom and human rights. However, Authoritarianism differs from totalitarianism in that there is a denial of freedom and individual rights, also ignoring the dignity of the human person, making classes in mass.

Totalitarianism considers the state as an end in itself, and therefore it maximizes, and since there is power to the end of things, considering an end to State, these two components of the policy are correlative, because a larger state gives us greater power. Thus the power of the totalitarian state can do anything because the end is all encompassing. Mussolini (who first used the term “totalitarianism”) plotted this in the slogan “all in state, all for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”. Not since the state for man, but man for the state.

Sociological aspect
Totalitarianism is a sociological monism because their ideology is the absence and consequent denial of the person as an individual has free will, and considers the individual rather based society, humans are human in that is part or member of a society, not in that it is a person to himself.

In the Marxist-type dictatorship the totalitarian phenomenon is not intrinsic to the doctrine that determines but it seems to be a necessary consequence of its practical application. The Marxist currents have different responses to different phenomenon from the restrictions imposed Marxism to a particular definition of political domination that involves both conscious social engineering as a politically determined domination, both situations provided only a few times in the Marxist historical analysis of society (Irrelevant considering private autonomy of individual volition as a necessary step for the free expression of a particular class consciousness, and for which enough-except in Marx's analysis of Bonapartism- with the “economic domination” is exerted to turn the “political domination”); much less Marxism anticipates a similar phenomenon in a society determined by the same Marxist doctrine, since this is viewed as a society in the process of emancipation and, on the contrary, one in collectivism degradation process that can be maintained over time (implying the possibility of the formation of a new bureaucratic class or Bonapartist state autonomy by the political elite, would complicate the dialectic of the basic assumptions of historical materialism). For Marxism, the dictatorship of the proletariat (turn unified, organized by Marxism through movement and the Communist Party) is exercised as a form of discrimination and political persecution against the enemy classes (while would remain politically democratic and tolerant for the proletariat and the peasantry as a class ally), but only rarely provides: Marxism analyzes state coercion always “domination of one class by another”, and the dictatorship of the proletariat would vary only every other class dominations (Marxist categorization according to production methods: “dictatorship” of the bourgeoisie, “dictatorship” of nobility, etc.) that this would be a conscious political dictatorship, planned and manifest. But in the particular case of the proletariat there is a certain subordination of class individuals, to the class as a group exercising dictatorship over them:

The vanguard group (Process drivers ideologization) is ideologically more advanced than the mass; that understands the new values, but insufficiently. While the first is a qualitative change that allows to make sacrifices in their advanced function, only see the second half and should be subject to incentives and pressures of certain intensity; is the dictatorship of the proletariat operating not only on the defeated class, but also individually, of the victorious class.

This subordination is a necessary part of the capacity of socialism to exert conscious control over the construction of society, and that it is impossible for other ruling classes dominate its economy not consciously through economic planning and civil societies based on private property can not be subordinated collectivized or state totalitarian collectivism without disappearing,3 and therefore can hardly achieve subordinate members to a mere “public interest” not determinable or partial forms of “collective action”. Critics of Marxism (or Marxist critics who oppose the totalitarian caricature in which Marxist regimes have become) call attention to the totalitarian character of the proletarian political subordination to the community of its kind, as this occurs in personal areas beyond the socialization of production; and in turn point to the subordination of class to your own “due” class consciousness (which becomes a substitute democratic nexus between worker participation and the political leadership that controls a single ideology) embodied in the revolutionary cause of the intellectual elite led by the single party (which in turn leads to national and state their own mass propaganda), particularly where this dependence is not voluntary but coercive, and internal competition for power is the headquarters delegating to a unique individual, leader and ideologue, taken as reference for the exercise of a personality cult.

In fascist dictatorships type, the individual subject as long as there is for national and ethnic population shares a common past and culture, therefore if present individualism, interests prevail not of reason but of a majority of the "will" of an ethnic. Doctrinaire thinking openly fascist totalitarian recognizes and takes the term to call themselves, and deliberately adopts the new party state form of a personality cult social pressure to ensure the subordination of all ranks to lead the masses, as an expression of the triumph of the will over the inertia of history, against all forms of liberal political pluralism social, or at least against any independence “plutocratic” of different social formations. In fascism (whether in the form exerted by the Fascist party or under its most radical in the case of the National Socialist party) denies the existence of necessary antagonism between socioeconomic classes and affirms a falsification of history by those who try to fight it.

Policy Issue
Totalitarianism is a political monism because it governs the entire power structure around the political power, usually one leader, absorbing the powers that are tuned to it and denying those who are independent or contrary. Thus, unlike democratic state forms, where political power is a form of power, which lies in a hierarchy, about social power, there totalitarianism in that hierarchy of power, because there is only one, el total political power.

Unlike liberalism and Marxism that have a coherent exposition of ideological, totalitarian doctrines are set at the same time these movements arise in order to gain power and establish its system of domination. No doctrine. The first feature is the exaltation of the State, omnipotent or a totalitarian state and bring respect for the leaders of these at a level of almost “personality cult”.

To this, National Socialism configuration adds a State supported by ethnic and racist assumptions. Thus, State supreme goal is the preservation of Nazi racial purity, justifying the racist and anti-Semitic policy of the Third Reich. Antiparliamentarism under the direction of a chief or leader-Duce (Mussolini), Leader (Hitler)- equipped with a power "charismatic" and able to create for itself the national will and direct benefit of the community irreplaceable.

His feverish hatred to democracy and its most common, freedom and equality policies. So against the "fallacy" of democratic equality (worth noting that since the totalitarian paradigm liberal democracy is also a totalitarianism), as ideal exhibit superior-inferior dichotomy. In the "code" social fascist man is superior to woman, the military to civilian, party member who is not, can express the main characteristics:

• If halla a militaristic imperialism.
• The ideas dogmatism and intolerance based on blind faith leader.
• Use the symbols and the new means of mass propaganda. There is a single party.

Legal aspect
Manages his own conception of law stating that there is only a positive right that the State gives persons. Namely, there are no natural rights in people, for the mere fact that people, also denies the existence of the human person dignity in naturally. Natural rights that may exist, considers totalitarianism are granted by the state, therefore become positive rights.

Origin and evolution of the term
If we try to establish the genealogy of the concept of totalitarianism, is necessary to go back to the early days of fascism is in reflection effect emerged after the rise of Italian fascism when you first use the adjective “totalitarian” appearing before the noun. Apparently they were political opponents of Mussolini who used the adjective for the first time during the years 20 to stigmatize the Mussolini regime. The Italian dictator was quick to use the term, obviously with positive connotations. An oft-quoted line from a text made jointly by Mussolini and his chief ideologist Giovanni Gentile reads: “for fascism, everything is within the state and nothing human or spiritual exists or has value outside the state, in this sense Fascism is totalitarian”.

The term finds its pejorative connotation in the pen of German intellectuals opposed to Hitler, to highlight Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann, shortly after, in 1941 first appears substantive written “totalitarianism”.
The term will emigrate from Italy and Germany to the main host countries of political opponents, predominantly U.S. and France. Parallel, the term “totalitarianism” begins to run on the political opposition to Stalin, mouth mostly intellectuals like Victor Serge and Boris Souvarine.

Although “totalitarian” and “totalitarianism” are terms arising from the political struggle, will quickly make the leap to academia as many opponents who use it are intellectual, examples may be cited as the author's book Catholic Jacques Maritain “Integral Humanism” (1936) or work Gurian (1935-39) or equally the work of Hayes(in) “The novelty of totalitarianism in Western history”, U.S. published in.

Of course, the use of the term totalitarianism will depend on the political context of the moment, from 1941 born an alliance between the West and the Soviet Union to fight against Nazism, alliance that limits the use of the term “totalitarianism” a la Nazi Germany, the dichotomy democracy / totalitarianism is hidden by the division fascism / anti-fascism.

After the interruption of the Second World War, throughout the Cold War will appear a scientific theory of totalitarianism, is during these years that the work appears Hannah Arendt capital, The Origins of Totalitarianism, this work will be the consolidation of the theory of totalitarianism.

For the first time a thinker [Arendt] Nazism and Stalinism united under one concept: “Totalitarianism”, that means radical suppression by the power of “policy” (the activity of free citizens to interact in the world) and, thereby, the right of establishment as total disregard Status individuals, little more than expendable objects.

In the Cold War, anticommunist organizations, many of them subsidized by the capitalist bloc going to build a building on ideological totalitarianism with anti approach, this approach will find opposition in communist European intellectuals these being hostile to the theory of totalitarianism.

Differences with other schemes
Apart from the colloquial use of the term totalitarian, the concept is the subject of some confusion between the conceptualization authoritarian, totalitarian and fascist. While these concepts are highly interrelated, saved enough independence semantics together. However, over a period of a government may own action and usually three, and even evolve and configured from one form to another so that strictly determine the differences for a specific case can be very complicated.

Differences with authoritarianism
According to authors such as Hannah Arendt and Raymond Aron, the key difference between an authoritarian or totalitarian tyranny and totalitarianism is that, state obeys a law or objective; in the case of Stalin's Russia “the law of history”, in the case of Hitlerite Germany “law of nature”, These latter objectives are set out as the supreme law, law that legitimizes the actions of the state. However, in tyranny there is no ultimate purpose to guide the actions of the state, the right not to serve the ideology.
It differs from the authoritarian regimes of the totalitarian government that are characterized by:

• Having an elaborate ideology stressing the glorification of the leader.
• Seek the support of the masses, not only subjecting.
• Your ultimate goal is to make great changes in society and not just impose their power over the same. The authoritarianism totalitarianism differs in the degree of intensity that manifest some of their common elements:
• Concentration of power in a single person or very small group, usually a political party or movement, which can even lead to the cult of personality of the leader.
• Justification of policy action by global doctrine manifested in all spheres of human performance: economy, culture, family, religion.
• Systematic use of terror, by means of a secret police to eliminate dissent or opposition.
• Using the concentration camps to isolate the opposition and enemies of the regime.
• While authoritarianism seeks to silence dissent and prevent public expressions, totalitarianism instead seeks not only silence but also remove opposing ways of thinking, by indoctrination and cultural attitudes remodeling.

The essential element shared by totalitarian regimes is the political will to make the state a mechanism to control all spheres of human activity and social occupy the whole space.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Totalitarianism”, Licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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