The first post of 2015. Sorry readers, I have been very busy these past few months. Thought I would share this gem from the Mises Institute:
THE ROAD TO TOTALITARIANISM
In spite of the obvious ultimate objective of the masters of Russia to communize and conquer the world, and in spite of the frightful power which such weapons as guided missiles and atomic and hydrogen bombs may put in their hands, the greatest threat to American liberty today comes from within. It is the threat of a growing and spreading totalitarian ideology.
Totalitarianism in its final form is the doctrine that the government, the state, must exercise total control over the individual. The American College Dictionary, closely following Webster’s Collegiate, defines totalitarianism as “pertaining to a centralized form of government in which those in control grant neither recognition nor tolerance to parties of different opinion.”
Now I should describe this failure to grant tolerance to other parties not as the essence of totalitarianism, but rather as one of its consequences or corollaries. The essence of totalitarianism is that the group in power must exercise total control. Its original purpose (as in communism) may be merely to exercise total control over “the economy.” But “the state” (the imposing name for the clique in power) can exercise total control over the economy only if it exercises complete control over imports and exports, over prices and interest rates and wages, over production and consumption, over buying and selling, over the earning and spending of income, over jobs, over occupations, over workers — over what they do and what they get and where they go — and finally, over what they say and even what they think.
If total control over the economy must in the end mean total control over what people do, say, and think, then it is only spelling out details or pointing out corollaries to say that totalitarianism suppresses freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of immigration and emigration, freedom to form or to keep any political party in opposition, and freedom to vote against the government. These suppressions are merely the end-products of totalitarianism.
All that the totalitarians want is total control. This does not necessarily mean that they want total suppression. They suppress merely the ideas which they don’t agree with, or of which they are suspicious, or of which they have never heard before; and they suppress only the actions that they don’t like, or of which they cannot see the necessity. They leave the individual perfectly free to agree with them, and perfectly free to act in any way that serves their purposes — or to which they may happen at the moment to be indifferent. Of course, they sometimes also compel actions, such as……(read more)