The term gets used haphazardly, but it is a misnomer when you apply it to Iran or Iraq, North Korea or Cuba. It comes close occasionally, but it really fits best to only a very few systems and particular leadership. Stalin's Soviet was arguably the first example of a true totalitarian society. He purged his enemies, organized his loyalists, controlled his economy and tolerated no challenges. He monitored, listened, controlled propaganda and re-interpreted both history and current events. If he told you that there was plenty of food you accepted that as you were turned away at the empty bakery. Nothing in your life was beyond government scrutiny.
Hitler did it best. And, if we dig at his interpretation of totalitarian we find a key to gaining "consent of the governed" for such a loss of liberty. He built a threat to the society, a stereotypical enemy against whom the power of government could be used without limit. For Hitler it was the Jews and the "mud people"--those races against which prejudice could be nurtured and hatred could flower to excess. They had killed Christ and they had been the money-lenders when charging of any interest was viewed by Christians as usury. They were the cause of problems and they could be extinguished without moral question. Be careful what you say or write because the Gestapo will know it.
Are we building a totalitarian future for America?
We are rushing headlong into nationalization of major segments of our economy. Mortgages, banks, markets, wages, automakers, energy production and rationing, soon healthcare will be government run, dispensed, regulated. If you wish to receive you will be obliged to comply.
The power exists to monitor our email, listen to our cell-phone conversations, retrieve our internet activities, track our movements and everywhere we go we are in view of surveillance cameras.
We are watching a free media be overwhelmed by a governmental propaganda arm. The Messiah is on prime time TV at least once a week. He's dominant on every news magazine cover. He has found his way into our school classrooms by webcast so that parents are cut out of the loop. He is dispenser of largess for purchasing a new car, for getting groceries at the local food distribution point, for having a bit of spending money to "stimulate" the economy, and soon for maybe getting a shot of flu vaccine. He is the giver of all things we need for life.
But what if he is challenged? What if someone dares to comment on the absence of clothing on the Emperor? Then we get this:
It Is Always About Race
How can someone spin those two words, "You lie!" into a racist rant? What can possibly be wrong about commenting on veracity of basic statements in a public forum when someone is of a different ethnicity?
Does Maureen Dowd want us to abandon any rational debate simply because the President is African-American?
I wonder what she would have thought of this:
"There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all."
That was from Theodore Roosevelt in 1915.
I almost wish we could print that on our currency instead of "In God We Trust."