Category : Political systems. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read Edit View history.
In other projects Wikipedia. This page was last edited on 7 July , at Many people have left, been fired, or been attacked by Trump because of disloyalty or because they cast him in a bad light. James Comey was asked by Trump to pledge his loyalty and was fired after he refused. Initially Trump placed great faith in his son-in-law and daughter, as illustrated by the huge tasks he gave them , but after Kushner lost his security clearance Trump reportedly asked Chief of Staff John Kelly to find a way to push them out.
The one representative Trump accepts attacks on—in part because he participates in them —is Jeff Sessions, and this is because Sessions was not loyal to Trump when he recused himself from the Russia investigation. On March 16, Trump fired Andrew McCabe hours before his retirement, which simultaneously eliminated a person overseeing the Muller probe and who was thus disloyal while denying McCabe his retirement benefits.
Trump clearly prizes loyalty and strength over expertise, and his statements indicate a concern for how he is perceived through his surrogates. Many have described Civil War-like conditions throughout the country, including the South , Washington , and Hollywood. A growing group of conservatives are dedicated more to their movement than to the law. Edgar Welch shot up a pizza restaurant in Washington after reading false news stories about a Hillary Clinton-run child sex ring.
In Craig Cobb tried to create a bastion of white supremacy in Leith, South Dakota before being arrested on seven counts of terrorizing others.
This is a great concern, especially because many conservatives seemed unconcerned with unlawful actions. Major elected leaders and presidential candidates supported Cliven Bundy, and polls indicated significant conservative sympathy with his position on the federal government. Republican Rep. Major conservative news outlets— Brietbart , Fox News , and Infowars among them—have voiced support for the alt-right movement. Conservatism looks a lot like the front organizations Arendt describes.
Some of the politicians, groups, and media that defend the principles of more radical conservatives are acting—whether they realize it or not—as the public faces of a movement that has as its goal the creation of a totalitarian country. The statement was not introduced as a joke, nor has it been walked back since. Taken on its own, the comment could be brushed off. But in the context laid out above, it indicates a disturbing move towards the society Arendt describes.
Conservatives have eschewed the principles they used to follow including individuals in the Republican Party who still hold them in favor of an unrealistic vision that is perpetuated by their news, politicians, and organizers. Their pursuit of this utopia has already resulted in multiple deaths and destruction.
The direction of this movement—totalitarianism—needs to be called out before their quest creates one of the greatest dystopias humans have ever seen. Totalitarianism has always been with us, and probably always will be. Hitler and Stalin were perhaps the last of the old era, they rose, they rampaged, and then they passed from the scene. Society recovered from the damage and moved on.
At these critical moments, the ordinary, boring bureaucrats discover that their norms and morals were just a jumble of old rules without any logical underpinning. Hi again Nathan, I admit to a degree of rhetorical excess, fair point. Benham and F. The founder of Home Depot, Ken Langone, has written a book called I Love Capitalism , in an effort to convince youngsters not to tinker with the system that made American great and Ken Langone stinking rich. As you rightly point out, it is not only people who identify as conservatives that are susceptible to totalitarian tendencies. Look at the USSR! While these quotes use more explicit language, they are not fundamentally different from claims Trump often makes.
Thus, there was always some kind of structure left somewhere which could move in and repair the damage once the crisis was over. This challenge can not be fully met by converting all countries to democracy because as the Trump election illustrates, all democracies are vulnerable to totalitarian influences. Hitler was voted in to office. The bottom line is that while an accelerating knowledge explosion continues to deliver wonderous miracles, it is also producing exceptionally dangerous powers which humanity is not mature enough to successfully manage.
First, the question.
I am unclear what you mean when you say technologies now exist on an existential scale. Can you clarify?
But in my reading of existentialism, technologies always did this. Second, my thought. I think you are right in focusing on how technology has changed totalitarianism. The way it forms communities that have their own epistemologies, and how those communities can leverage it to apply pressure to marginalized groups or the political system, is something new.
My apologies. All I mean by that phrase is any technology which has the potential to crash civilization.
So I should probably just say that, instead of trying to sound fancy. As best I can tell from NPR stories all the great powers, and some smaller ones too, are getting in to this business with some enthusiasm. This example points to a range of powers which themselves can not collapse civilization, but which may trigger other forces which can. Another example of this might be our highly complex financial system and the crash, which could have triggered all kinds of global chaos. It seems the bottom line is our relationship with the knowledge explosion.
Our best hope may be a crisis which is large enough to scare us profoundly, but not large enough to crash civilization. I strongly agree that totalitarianism always will be a great danger to contemporary societies, whether communist, fascist, or democratic. And I agree there is some danger to the American democratic system posed by the Trump presidency and its right-wing fringe elements, along with certain political interest-groups, whether leftist or rightist, who attempt to impose their agenda upon the public, whether by propaganda or violence although we have so far mostly avoided the latter.
I would then finally ask 3 whether certain fringe-zone leftist anarchist, black bloc etc.
Or maybe more so…. By my definition, a totalitarian society would be one in which 1 a single monolithic party, whether communist, fascist, or democratic, monopolizes both 2 the legitimate methods of exercising violence military, police, courts etc. A totalitarian regime then would be one in which a dictator leader military junta or single party oligarchy dictates what opinions and behaviors are acceptable and enforces them on everybody, thereby ostracizing marginalizing exiling or killing anybody who does not at least at pay lip-service to those opinions and conform to those behaviors, whether those opinions and behaviors are communist or fascist, democratic or republican, liberal or conservative, heterosexual or homosexual, patriarchal or matriarchal, black white red brown green or purple, and so on.
Frankly, I do not see a situation fitting this description of totalitarianism existing in contemporary American society. Unlike Stalin, Mussolini, or Hitler, Trump cannot make the trains run on time, nor can he enforce his opinions even in his own party viz.
I have suggested that the American Constitution should be amended to allow for invalidating fraudulent elections viz, and for taking a no-confidence vote against an administration that clearly does not represent the will of the people viz, the Trump administration. So far, no American politicians have recognized wisdom of? There is, of course, also impeachment. Secondly, I think your definition of totalitarianism might just as well be applied to certain elements of the so-called democratic liberal left, who would like to enforce their own lifestyle preferences political thinking, liberal philosophy, sexual orientation, thoughts about marriage or abortion etc.
I think of the efforts made by gay-rights advocates in California to remove people from their jobs because they voted to support the marriage bill, for example, which might be compared to efforts made by conservatives to ostracize people who vote for abortion rights. Yes, I admit the Trump administration has committed equal or greater crimes currently in progress, most of which nobody even wants to know about… , but my point is they are not the first to commit crimes and get away with it.
Quite the contrary…. And what about the Chinese Communist Revolution? Or The Great Leap Forward? The Cultural Revolution? What about the Chinese reeducation-through-labor camps laogai currently also still in operation…? Can you? But perhaps I misrepresent your position, and I welcome your reply. Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments engaging my work. And my apologies for not responding sooner; last week I was swamped with teaching and grading.
I have many of the same concerns myself, and see potential good and bad outcomes from the possibilities your suggest. Eric, as I understand your argument, you object to my application of the term totalitarianism to conservatives exclusively. I have two responses to this. As you rightly point out, it is not only people who identify as conservatives that are susceptible to totalitarian tendencies.
The article was focused on conservatism because that is where I see the danger coming from today.
They are, above all, the ones who deny basic truths, who are demonizing certain identities, and who desire a social purity that is impossible to achieve. It was a matter of circumstance, not necessity, that led me to my focus on conservatism. However, I do disagree with some of the claims you make about the totalitarianism tendencies of other groups. Regarding your definition of totalitarianism, it is important to recognize that a totalitarian party would be democratic or communist in name only the same is true of traditional conservatism, which is also opposed to totalitarianism. This is why the article concludes with a call that we prevent a similar situation from happening.
While I have my own disagreements with parts of the left, I find the claim that they are acting in a totalitarian manner to be, frankly, absurd. The leftist elements you mention e. To put it simply, if you support openness and heterogeneity, then you must oppose the forces that prevent society from embracing those values. You and I agree that numerous things he did are abhorrent e. Consider the intellectual work being done by millions of philosophers, academics, scientists etc around the world. Imagine that you are in your home office working on a paper that is important to career.
And then your kitchen erupts in flames and threatens to blow up your house.