Friday, 9 December 2011

Totalitarianism - Raw Notes

“Totalitarianism is a branch of phenomenology” - Hannah Arendt disagreed, describing the holocaust as 'normal'.

[ The main phenomena of Totalitarianism is that you are told what to believe ]

What is Totalitarianism?
  • “A form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator ( not restricted by a constitution or laws )
  • A political system where the state in control believes that 'everything is possible'.
  • Strives for limitless power through the control of the public sector and the private sectors within it
  • Complete control over everything
  • Enforce it – A policy of terror needs to be implemented
  • Mass, senseless, reasonless slaughter. Drives fear into the heart of the public, destroy the sense of individuality
  • Needs to be constantly attacking and have no other purpose other than to destroy
Arendt's View
  • A critic of Nietzsche
  • Believed in the moral universe of Totalitarianism
  • Nietzsche’s 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' stated there was no such thing as 'supermen', and that we are just going about our daily Jobs as human beings
  • Arendt disagreed
  • Believed in the individuality and spontaneity of people
  • Wrote a series of articles for the New Yorker
  • No thinking person could be responsible for genocide. It's not necessary to possess wickedness in order to commit crimes.
Eichmann Case
  • Arendt wrote about a court case concerning Adolf Eichmann who was a key member of the Nazi party
  • She believed he could be considered guilty but not for the reasons stated by the court
  • She said Adolf's only crime was not thinking about his actions and serving whoever was in control with blind obedience
  • No thinking person could be responsible for genocide. It's not necessary to posses wickedness in order to commit great crimes
  • Study to see how far people would go when receiving orders from an authority figure
  • Influenced by the events of the Holocaust
  • “Obedience to authority”
  • 33 out of 40 P's administered the full range of shocks up to 450 volts
  • 2/3 of all people undertaking the study gave the participant a shock which could kill
  • The holocaust is an example of how totalitarianism is used to strip people of their identity, rights and citizenship
  • Everybody blames Hitler, but was it just him at fault?
  • There's no one person that can mesmerise everyone and do everything, argued Arendt


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