- Academy of Ideas, 28/Dec/2021
- Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhNJJmmCkqY
Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control and regulation over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. In totalitarian states, political power is often held by autocrats, such as dictators and absolute monarchs, who employ all-encompassing campaigns in which propaganda is broadcast by state-controlled mass media in order to control the citizenry. It remains a useful word but the old 1950s theory was considered to be outdated by the 1980s, and is defunct among scholars. The proposed concept gained prominent influence in Western anti-communist and McCarthyist political discourse during the Cold War era as a tool to convert pre-World War II anti-fascism into post-war anti-communism.
Other studies try to link modern technological changes with totalitarianism. According to Shoshana Zuboff, economic pressures of modern surveillance capitalism are driving the intensification of connection and monitoring online with spaces of social life becoming open to saturation by corporate actors, directed at the making of profit and/or the regulation of action. Toby Ord found Orwell's fears of totalitarianism as a notable early precursor to modern notions of anthropogenic existential risk, the concept that a future catastrophe could permanently destroy the potential of Earth-originating intelligent life due in part to technological changes, creating a permanent technological dystopia. Ord said that Orwell's writings show his concern was genuine rather than just a throwaway part of the fictional plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In 1949, Orwell wrote that "[a] ruling class which could guard against (four previously enumerated sources of risk) would remain in power permanently." That same year, Bertrand Russell wrote that "modern techniques have made possible a new intensity of governmental control, and this possibility has been exploited very fully in totalitarian states."
In the late 2010s, The Economist has described China's developed Social Credit System under Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's administration, to screen and rank its citizens based on their personal behavior, as totalitarian. Opponents of China's ranking system say that it is intrusive and is just another way for a one-party state to control the population. The New York Times compared Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping's cult of personality and his ideology Xi Jinping Thought to that of Mao Zedong during the Cold War. Supporters say that it would make for a more civilized and law-abiding society. Shoshana Zuboff considers it instrumentarian rather than totalitarian. Other emerging technologies that have been postulated to empower future totalitarianism include brain-reading, contact tracing and various applications of artificial intelligence. Philosopher Nick Bostrom said that there is a possible trade-off, namely that some existential risks might be mitigated by the establishment of a powerful and permanent world government, and in turn the establishment of such a government could enhance the existential risks which are associated with the rule of a permanent dictatorship.
FREE email alerts of the most important BANNED videos in the world
Get FREE email alerts of the most important BANNED videos in the world that are usually blacklisted by YouTube, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Vimeo. Watch documentaries the techno-fascists don't want you to know even exist. Join the free Brighteon email newsletter. Unsubscribe at any time. 100% privacy protected.
Your privacy is protected. Subscription confirmation required.