Knowledge Blast: Totalitarian Thought

When the word “fascist” is uttered in any setting involving more than one conflicting body; it most likely will be used out of its proper discourse, by those who lack an understanding of its definition. The word is tossed around in naive-socialist circles like a hot-potato, almost to the extent at which if a differing of opinion were to be made against the norm, if expressed by an individual, may immediately condemn them to being called it by all those (who by chance) do not like what they have to express. This failure to understand words and their proper usage is to blame for this nativity, so what can be more fitting then explaining the word and the thought that surrounds it?

To start off lets define terms. Fascism is a system of government characterized by dictatorship; the word originates in ancient Rome from the word “fasces” which is a pile of sticks used by legionaries and subsequent soldiers of the Roman Empire during long tracks and marches across Europe and the Mediterranean. It was later to be used as a symbol for the 20th century, used by Benito Mussolini’s fascist party who used the fasces symbol to represent their political ideological movement in Italy during the late 1910’s. Fascism as mentioned already has a major characteristic and that is dictatorship, to understand this term we need to look back to the Ancient Romans who coined the term. During the early parts of the 5th century B.C.E Rome became a republic after having three hundred years of monarchy rule; the Roman kingdom was overthrown and started expanding to the rest of the Italian and Mediterranean peninsulas. The senate on behalf of the people ruled Rome expanding its land grab from the small city states to the large Mediterranean. During the republic’s expanse into the Mediterranean and Europe, governors mostly generals and senate approved leaders, would hold territories on behalf of the senate by which the senate would legislate orders to the governors on how to run the territory and so on. However territories captured by warring nations or barbaric states, would often play victim to unrest and tragedy, this unrest and tragedy would interrupt progression and endanger the republic autonomy; causing great economic and military problems for the republic. The solution to these problems had to do with retaining control of the populace of the territory; the only way this could be done was through authoritarian state rule which was given to by the senate on behalf of the republic temporarily to the most competent leader in the republic, to retain order by any means necessary. The ordinary magistrate of the senate had legal means to and guides to attain the republic’s states, but during the first Punic war in the 3rd century B.C.E, by which saw the establishment of the extraordinary magistrate (officially called “magister populi”-master of the people). The status passed by the senate to the general allowed him to rule by decree or “dictatorate” (shortened later to “dictator”). This leader was assigned a committee who were solely under the generals command (committee of “magister equiem”-master of the horse) this oligarchy helped the dictator retain control of the state after the warring parties had been quelled. This dictatorate lasted for a couple months just until order was restored before it would be relinquished. Gaius Julius Ceaser was the first “Dictator for life” in the 1st century B.C.E after the collapse and scattering of the republic, ceaser retained the status and enhanced it to a year. He used military might to maintain his rule collapsing the republic into an empire, ruled under History’s first totalitarian state. The classical dictatorship came before the neo dictatorship, to differentiate between the two; classical refers to the original purpose of the roman dictatorship which was to retain order on behalf of the general well-being of the state, by which the subsequent rule would be relinquished after a temporary time, the main characteristics of this type of dictatorship is authoritarianism. Neo (new age) dictatorship refers to Ceaser’s model of dictatorship and the subsequent models of dictatorship based on it; by which the purpose is to benefit the dictator’s interests for however long the dictator remains in power, the major characteristics of this type of dictatorship is totalitarianism.

Authoritarianism is in essence dictatorship with a leash; the power is limited in their actions to totally control the state and the people within the state, thus limiting them to the marginalisation of power. Totalitarianism is different as it is dictatorship of the leash, total tyrannical rule can be applied by the state power on the people of the state, the methods are endless and they last as long as the power lasts. A huge understanding in the evolution of neo dictatorship is the change in how these states who vestige a totalitarian state, control their populations. Let us take one case as an example of totalitarianism, say Nazi Germany. National Socialism is the combination of German patriotism and fascist leadership, an ideology created by Adolf Hitler that saw the blend in ideology and government being first truly utilised. To understand this dynamic evolution of neo-dictatorship from the solely relying on militarism and imperialism, to neo-dictatorship running on tyranny and ideology; it must be highlighted the important differences of neo-dictatorship of Cesar’s day and Neo-dictatorship of Hitler’s day. Ceser’s day militarism was the major security of power for rule, Cesars vast armies kept him secure (external protection) from his neighbours however this did not prevent internal conspiracies being expressed against him, this particularly is major flaw as with a totalitarian state to truly maintain total control it must maintain it both internally and externally. Hitler’s Germany was internally secured via two aspects, Ideology and intimidation; by keeping the blast of propaganda and ideological fear, Hitler’s Germany could be maintained internally. When ideology is injected into neo-dictatorships, that is, when they take a new form, instead of becoming entirely hollow states, they start acquiring life. It truly is a bone tingling sensation to witness the birth of life in these states, as their tyrants increase in power frenzy can be seen growing amongst the maintenance of the state, when the form of rule starts becoming more and more an entity of it rather than the robotic systematic government it had been to start off with. In 1944 upon the inevitable defeat of National Socialism, Joseph Goebbels the propaganda minister for the Reich made one of the most chilling speeches ever produced. Called “Total War”, the power of twenty years of propaganda administered by the state was put into overdrive in a speech that expressed the ultimate need for the civilian to serve his country in order to feel that he has contributed to the state. This frenzy created solely from ideological indoctrination, fear and intimidation, all of which would become cultivated in creating an internal state by which the neo-dic tatorship could survive, was the nature of National socialist dictatorships. The very essence of Nazism cries out totalitarianism as it combines total power and tyranny to maintain the selected interest of the dictator or ruler of the state for any given amount of time, whereas in authoritarian states the powers that be are prohibited in their liberty to dispense with law and order the way they want, keeping vestige interests in not only their own needs but in the power’s means as well.

This is why fascism in the sense of Benito Mussolini’s Italian fascist party was authoritarian in nature, that is to say an oligarchy gave Mussolini limited power, that during the Second World War when breached meant his immediate removal by the oligarchy at which he had been maintained by. Quasi dictatorships who look back to the classical dictatorships, this being of course the running of the old roman empire by senate elected dictators, will be states such as aforementioned already Italy during fascist rule, and Spain during the rule of Francisco Franco that can be seen to have incorporated elements of authoritarianism and totalitarianism to the extent at which both parties could have domain and power but they were always limited by either internal conflicting bodies or external ones that would prohibit the expansion and consolidation of power that would prohibit neo-dictatorships well at the same time allowing time to freely be maintained (neo dictatorship and classical dictatorship); the synthesis of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. Another example of totalitarian neo dictatorship is the communist regime, like the Nazi regime the communist regime ran on a system of systematic maintenance pushed by fear and ideology. Through indoctrination of the populace to be more subservient and willing to die for the state, communism under Stalin could be utilised to have had total control as the dictator maintained power to the extent that the power itself could not be removed easily, and the willingness of the people to love what they fear (sadomasochism) became more apparent. It is the nature of totalitarian states such as Nazism, communism and to a lesser extent orwellianism (George Orwell’s ,1984; big brother state, by which the full utilisation of propaganda, fear and intimidation sought in advancing the nature of a neo-dictatorship to the extent by which it becomes nature to be under a totalitarian power) that there forms see vestige interest in utilising power for as long as possible, and when so ever should the power be removed its ultimate goal is to kill the state itself well undergoing its own annihilation.

Victims, who live under states like these, can be subjected to years of propaganda, skewing their view of the world. If you ever wish to see the power of indoctrination just look at the surviving Hitler Youth today, most of them went through an undoctrination after they were captured by western forces. However they still hold great sympathy for the years of service under the regime of Nazism, this is the power of totalitarianism with ideology; it can make its population entirely subservient and entirely willing to die for the regime!

As the decades went on and the ever increasing destruction of totalitarian states increased, fascism especially the blurring of totalitarianism in pop culture and culture in general became more apparent. Dystopian classics such as George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “a brave new world”, captured society’s imagination and paranoia by showing the possible potential of totalitarianism if left unchecked. In most of these types of novels the importance of liberty and freedom of the individual was always highlighted as a means to inject strength into the paranoid individuals. The only means by which such power and total control is stopped, is by the constant awareness of the people of the state about the nature of their government. If the people do not regulate the duties of their government the process of neo-dictatorship become ever more apparent. When authoritarianism is allowed to take hold, if left by the people for far too long it will grow in totalitarianism, this is why the duty of the people is always to be aware of the growing concern its government wishes to have in the individual’s life and the limiting of liberties of that individual to a fake sense of security. That is the only way totalitarianism can be avoided by the people, is the unanimous will to step in the line of fire and protect the fundamental liberties of the state’s populace. The seeds of totalitarianism are found in places at which hierarchy and a top to bottom system is utilised, this is why religions are innately totalitarian as they vestige interest in the God’s needs and the representative of the Gods to maintain a false sense of security. Theocracies are dictatorships run by religions (if one were to play the technical semantic game the correct term to use for a group of religious bodies controlling a government is a “ecclesiocracy” but for all intended uses “theocracy” is made also mentioned), showing the true nature of such groups to maintain totalitarian elements of control. When theocracies such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are mentioned, one cannot help but think of the public hanging and execution of all those willing to disobey the regime’s holy text (the hanging of homosexuals is a grizzly example). It is because of this that states have a duty to limit all religions from gaining any mention in government, because the very nature of all religions especially mono-theistic, are totalitarian by nature.

Fascism has been morphed however by socialist groups over the years to the status of an insult, this blending and redefining of terms is a potential danger, as in order to attain what the word means. It must be utilised as such to the extent it accurately represents what it is needed to represent, this is why insults with the word “fascist” always seek (in the eyes of those enlightened) to add disappointment. Remembering what has been discussed always seek to hold a better understanding of words as to not lose the intention of those words.

Knowledge is power

Use it

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson