A couple of days ago I wrote about the need for a new word for the despotic thought-control regimes whose velvet-covered iron curtain is now descending across the West. When I used the word “totalitarian” to describe Britain, a number of readers objected, so in my post I started a word-search for a replacement.
I was surprised by the unusual number of comments that came in overnight on that essay. And then WRSA linked the post (thank you, boys) and sent a new tranche of commenters over here with additional remarks.
One of the more thought-provoking comments came from georgiaboy61. Below are some excerpts (emphasis added):
Your musings over whether to call the present government of the United Kingdom “totalitarian” are interesting, although I disagree that the term “totalitarian” is inadequate to describe the variety on display in present day Britain and elsewhere in Europe and the western world besides.
You make reference to the term totalitarian bringing to mind “jack boots, concentration camps and firing squads” — so in the narrow sense you are right that — thus defined — totalitarian isn’t the correct word for what we see in Britain today.
However, I would strongly argue that your definition of “totalitarian” is much too narrow. Doing a quick internet search of no more than two minutes yields a number of useful definitions which have nothing to do with National Socialism or Stalinist Communism. For example:
“…relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.”
“Totalitarianism is a political concept where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.”
“Totalitarianism, form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of individual life to the authority of the state.”
There are other definitions as well, but you see the point. The “totalitarianism” you imagine is fascist totalitarianism or perhaps communist totalitarianism, but those are far from the only types — especially if you broaden the definition away from the by-now stereotypical images from the WWII and Cold War era.
Is Islam totalitarian? Absolutely. Why? Because within an Islamic society governed by sharia law, there is literally nothing which does not fall under its prevue. Islam is totalitarian in that it is “all-encompassing,” enveloping completely those who practice it and live within it, believer and kafir alike.
The totalitarianism currently on display is a product of cultural Marxism, which is the dominant ideology of the post-modern West, in particular within the ruling class elites and the parts of the culture they control — the media, education, government and so forth.
Communism is dangerous enough, in and of itself, but the story does not end there — for cultural Marxism has now hybridized itself with Islam, producing what I like to term Islamo-Marxism. This is manifested in the Islamophilia displayed by the British royal family and aristocracy as well as by the British government itself, as represented by Prime Minister Theresa May — a dhimmi and card-carrying member of the ruling class.
In the 1950s, historian J.L. Talmon coined the term “totalitarian democracy” to describe a society and system of government “in which lawfully elected representatives maintain the integrity of a nation state whose citizens, while granted the right to vote, have little or no participation in the decision-making process of the government.”
Isn’t that what we’re seeing in Britain, at least in part?
Another useful definition was offered by Dr. Larry Sellin, who coined the term “administrative tyranny” to describe the form of tyranny practiced by the Obama regime during its eight years in the White House.
This is useful as well, since it takes in the various forms of censorship, repression of dissent and non-judicial punishments meted out by the state and its minions. In the case of Britain, punishments may be judicial as well — since one may be prosecuted for “hate crimes” by saying something unflattering about Muslims. In America or Canada, however, it is just as likely to be a privately-owned firm or a non-profit organization, acting in place of the government proper, which turns the screws on dissidents and others who dare to question the received wisdom.
Today’s totalitarians are far more subtle and patient. They are mastering how to enslave a race of people without actually appearing to do so. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the other great tyrants of the 20th century would melt in envy at the powerful new tools available to today’s propagandists, to today’s secret policeman, to today’s totalitarian EU bureaucrat. Moreover, today’s tyranny adopts methods from far-and-wide — whatever works is the watchword.
The globalists, Muslims and cultural Marxists and many others as well — have all had a role in seasoning this toxic and deadly brew.
In short, today’s totalitarians are selling the same old wine as their forbears, just repackaged in shiny, nice new bottles — bottles from their brainwashed peoples can’t wait to drink.
This was my response:
Actually, until a few days ago, I thought “totalitarian” was an adequate word for the regime that has evolved in Britain, and that is rapidly evolving here in the Nation Formerly Known as the United States of America. Total state control of political opinion and social behavior — that’s totalitarian, right?
“Wrong!” said our readers.
The first and most important rule of linguistics is: usage is everything. It doesn’t matter what’s in the dictionary or what language experts say; if a term is defined in a certain way in widespread common usage, then that is what it means. I certainly wouldn’t try to argue that “gay” means “happy and light-hearted”; would you? It meant that to my grandmother, but it doesn’t mean that now. Usage is everything.
It seems that “totalitarian” does not just mean total state control, but total state control of a certain form. That particular form was kind of set in stone by Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Castro, and Mao. If it doesn’t look like their regimes, it’s not totalitarian. That’s what common usage says, and usage is everything.
The main distinction seems to be that postmodern totalitarianism by and large controls people’s thoughts and behaviors without their realizing it. This is the great advance that the Western democracies have made over the last half-century, and with which they have far outpaced what their Communist, Fascist, and National Socialist forbears could manage. If you lived in a Nazi or Communist utopia, you knew very well who controlled you, and how. There was no hiding behind multiple layers of gauzy bureaucracy, nor any pretense that the organs of control were not administered by the state. The state owned your life and even your very soul, and everyone knew it.
This is not true in today’s neo-totalitarian regimes. We said, “We won’t get fooled again,” but we were wrong. We got fooled again, big time, and most of us didn’t even know there was any fooling going on.
So a word is needed for a regime that is relatively decentralized, not clearly visible, dispersed through multiple loosely connected organs, and able to control individual thought, behavior, and expression without seeming to do so in most circumstances.
That’s the word we’re looking for. I haven’t seen one that fits the bill yet. The best I could come up with was a cumbersome compound phrase: brainwash-and-intimidate. But that doesn’t really do the job.
It’s important to note that the brainwash-and-intimidate system can only remain effective as long as most of the work is done by “brainwash”, and not so much by “intimidate”. When the system begins to fail, it ratchets up the intimidation, which accelerates its failure — a positive feedback loop. This is the stage the UK and Europe are in now. A positive feedback loop makes a system inherently unstable, so things will not remain the same indefinitely. Whatever is contrary to Tao will not last long.
Recent technological developments — especially innovations in the design of cell phones and other portable wireless electronic devices — have made the current regime possible. The deterioration of civil liberties over the past fifteen years or so was enabled by the technical advances that in effect put a baby monitor into the hands and pockets of virtually every young person in the Western world. Brainwashing and thought control as presently administered by the techno-state had never been achievable until these wonderful new gadgets flooded the market.
Bodissey’s First Law of Political Economy: Whatever the state is capable of doing to control its citizens, it will eventually do.
“The state” in this instance is far more than just a governmental structure. Governments today are little more than executors of functions designated by a larger structure: the New World Order, the Deep State, the Cathedral, the Military-Industrial Complex, the International Financial System — call it what you will.
Perhaps the difficulty in naming and describing the regime arises from the fact that it is so new. Nothing remotely like this has ever existed before, so we may need to devise equally new descriptive terminologies to use to discuss it.