Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Totalitarianism lecture and Hannah Arendt.

Totalitarianism is a political system in which there is no limit to how much control regimes may have over a state - both from a public and  private aspect. Totalitarian regimes believe that everything is possible and seek unlimited power, but according to Hannah Arendt, 'the inevitable price of total power is destruction and the eradication of human plurality'.
Our individuality makes us difficult to control and in order to destroy this two important methods are needed: state terror and ideology. The essence of totalitarianism governments is total terror and this is achieved through enforced or imposed political power by an official - varying from propaganda, state-controlled media and personality cults. In this political system, the authoritarian has complete control over the nation's economy, law and order. What, therefore, assists in keeping this dictatorial system in place is the restriction on freedom of speech and the use of mass surveillance.
Hannah Arendt.
A totalitarianism government means a single governing entity has absolute power over all the citizens of a nation. This government could vary from being only an individual ruling a nation to a committee or political party. Their power exercised is to disallow all citizens from their private life and morals and ideologically, to make all individuals appear as one in methods of thinking, destroying civil society. The best examples of countries ruled by totalitarian authority are Russia under Stalin and Germany under Hitler.
Hannah Arendt was one of the leading critics of totalitarianism who published her book, 'The Origins of Totalitarianism', in 1951. This book highlights the way in which totalitarianism takes place and what effect it has on society, placing her own set of views. She also proposes that totalitarianism is a different form of oppression: it does not necessarily mean it is a dictatorship or tyrannous ruling of a government, but it s a government sharing similar values.
Arendt argues that each individual has their own unique personality and therefore, it is unpredictable what people will do. Everything is possible so people can strive to seek as much power as possible as it is unlimited. A clear example of how this is the method of power and control that Stalin and Hitler had achieved - to break down people's individuality using state terror and ideology, showing Marxism and Communism in effect (society having an equal treatment).
Einchmann on trial in court.

Terror, according to Arendt, is the most effective as it prevents the masses from rebelling against their own government. So for the wrong thoughts and appearance there will be negative consequences. People lose their individuality through ideology and the theory of giving up your rights is similar to Hobbes's theory who believed society always needed a ruler to maintain social stability, law and order, but consequently, humans lose their rights. Arendt believed there will never be an end to totalitarianism as it is one of the endless causes for destruction and that groups in society will always be targeted, such as the Jews or disabled individuals.
Arendt published another book, 'Einchmann', in Jerusalem about a story she witnessed in Argentina. Einchmann was a Nazi fugitive during the Holocaust and was captured by the Israeli Secret Service Agents in 1960 and tried for crimes against humanity in Jerusalem. Einchmann believed he was simply following orders and Arendt witnessed this trial live in courtroom.

No comments:

Post a Comment