Talk:Totalitarianism/Archive 1

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Archive 1 | Archive 2


What this article needs most badly is sections or summary of relevant links on the precise methodology and ideology of regimes, whether by country or by topic. For example, collectivization, secret police, counter-intelligence, censorship, concentration camps, and so forth.

Old talk

How about a page on the criticisms and warnings against Totalitarianism? Totalitarianism/Criticisms, perhaps. Tzartzam 12:12 Sep 7, 2002 (UTC)

Pages with slashes in the middle are a relic of an older implementation of the wiki software, as I understand it, and are to be avoided these days. If the subject wanted a page of its own, it would be something like Criticisms of totalitarianism, but really, I think it may as well go on this page under a separate heading.
Well, maybe I'll start a criticisms and warnings title, and we could take it from there. George Orwell would be a good start... -- Tzartzam
By the way, do I understand correctly that you're going to destroy the system from the inside? ;-) --Camembert
Haha! You've been reading my livejournal! Hm. Well, probably not. But, y'know, gotta fight somehow... -- Tzartzam

I think this business of Hitler rising to power democratically is very debatable. The Nazis never got a majority of the vote. Hitler was appointed chancellor through a variety of secret deals with and betrayals of other conservatives. The 32 election was rife with riots and intimidation by the stormtroopers. Finally, the mechanism that gave the Nazis power was ruling by decree, an aspect of the German system that is hard to defend as "democracy". It can be argued that Hitler came to power in large part because Germany was not democratic enough, and did not have deep democratic traditions, having retained aristocratic rule longer than most other major European powers. I think the paragraph should either be deleted, or a fuller discussion of the rise of Hitler inserted. I favor the former, as I think the latter too much a digression.

Hieronymous 05:07, 16 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Cut from article:

The terms totalitarian democracy and totalitarian republic have also been used to classify a different style of totalitarian rule. In these regimes, the government is generally popular (at least at the beginning), and the ideological justification of the state comes on behalf of the people. Hitler's initially-democratically-elected regime of Nazi totalitarianism is often used as an example of a totalitarian democracy.

I've never heard of these terms. I have, however heard the claim that "Hitler came to power democratically." Since I'm bewildered by the prospect that any people would vote to give up their freedom, I doubt that this could be true. Historian William Sheridan Allen says it's not true.

Let's label the claim as a POV, or leave it out. --Uncle Ed 21:23, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Michael Ledeen

Cut from article:

Michael Ledeen has advanced the theory that the role of the United States should be to impose by war the institutions it associates with democracy - waging what he calls total war to eradicate the prior society. This would imply at least a brief period of totalitarian style control in order to erase that society, and teach the next generation the democratic civics.

Am I reading this right? Someone is advocating the use of totalitarianism to advance the cause of democracy? Sounds like screwing for chastity, if you ask me. I must be reading this wrong.

In postwar Japan, MacArthur imposed a democratic constitution by force. But he didn't establish thought police -- he disbanded them. He didn't class emigration as state treason, he didn't espouse full government control of all newspapers, etc.

Is Ledeen talking about Iraq, or what? Let's find out... --Uncle Ed 14:17, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

What about some more comments on the position that the very concept of totalitarianism is unsound, and on the uses to which the authoritarianism vs. totalitarianism distinction has been put? Plenty has been written on the subject. An alternative definition of "totalitarianism" that reflects much of its historical usage might be simply "a dictatorship the speaker does not like", as opposed, of course, to a dictatorship the speaker does like.

I think that section on Mr. Ledeen is politically partisan and very POV; this page should be about finding a DEFINITION for and an understanding of TOTALITARIANISM, not for taking jabs at ANY nation, wether they deserve it or not! Tom S.

Inline comment moved from article

Regarding this passage,

Both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany built huge "empires" which came into conflict with the "free world", and Allied forces led by the Soviet Union and the United States (amongst others) liberated Germany on V-E Day. Arendt in particular draws parallels between fascism and Stalinism.

there was the following comment:

This is a bit oversimplified: The Soviet Empire collapsed under its own weight. And it doesn't add any value.

I don't know how to resolve the issue, but I figured if I move it here people can at least discuss it. Daniel Brockman 09:32, Jul 31, 2004 (UTC)

"Allied forces led by the Soviet Union and the United States (amongst others)" What a lame way to put this. You might simply refer to 'the allies' to include everyone. Because who else? The Brits! Who else? The French and the Canadians were allies too, but that's starting to stretch what is meant here.

the word "Totalitarian" did not originally imply coercion.

"Totalitarianism is any political system in which a citizen is totally subject to a governing authority in all aspects of day-to-day life."

I can't agree with the very basis of this article. Though am unwilling to change it because of modern usage and the divergent consensus thus far so distant from the delvings into which I've found the word to be used earliest. Though I believe it should be mentioned for people who are willing to look up the original context of the word usage in Fascist Italy, that it was one of 'a totality reifying the state,' and nothing to do with authoritarianism. That Totalitarian meant Total-Authoritarian was only used pejoratively, those who called themselves by it meant nothing of authority in it. It was rather a Syndicalist type conception of 'conforming to the proletariat' by their 'total conception' of social life by which it reflected in their actions to form the state. Not that the state was an entity dictating or administering laws about every aspect of living, but every aspect of living built up was what had to be recognized as the 'state' entity cohesively, i.e. 'Totally.' This is how it was seen by the Italian Fascists as intrinsic about themselves, and not used by the Nazis, Falangists or Communists who didn't adhere to such Actual Idealism. In this context also the Italian Fascist system alone can be applied to the word historically whereas none of the other regimes commonly considered do fit it. Which quite the opposite as the article's current definition, where it's postulation now is opposite to the many regime's own self-classification. Nagelfar 11:18, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I second everything said.

Mussolini's dictatorship resulted from the steady, but irrevocable, degradation of democracy. Clearly some people will feel themselves cheated under any system or will find the new way of life objectionable, and the system that does not permit the expression of dissent invariably becomes coercive. If coercion is not a stated objective of a totalitarian movement or party, it is still inevitable. -- 19:30, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Measuring totalitarianism

In response to Trey Stone, on the subject of measuring totalitarianism, the first paragraph correctly lists the definition of totalitarianism. It is about control of "every aspect" of everyday life. It is not just about "indoctrination" and "political imprisonment." The imprisonment rate is a very fair measure of the degree to which the state finds itself needing to intervene in all the aspects of life total and is hence very relevant to the theory of totalitarianism. Stone's point may be relevant somewhere in the Wikipedia, just not on this page about totalitarianism.

Besides which, thanks in part to the theory of "totalitarianism," many would question what is "political imprisonment" in one context and not supposedly in another. That would be a good question for a page on political prisoners. 07:20, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The essence of totalitarianism is control by persons with unaccountable power, even over the use of modern technology, and the will to use it. It is essential that we separate the idea of totalitarianism from any concept of 'evil'. If we want to discuss totalitarianism, we must reject the idea that a particularly nasty sort of government, like Idi Amin's Uganda or Anastasio Somoza's Nicaragua, is totalitarian, should it fail to establish an ideological basis for its rule or establish control of the economy as a means of controlling its subjects. All totalitarian states are pathological, but not all pathological states are totalitarian -- 21:56, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Characteristics of the Soviet Union

I have restored the following material to the article as it contains specific material about the major totalitarian regime of the 20th century. It is derived from pages 63, 64 of The Second Russian Revolution, ISBN 0886876834 This is a companion book to a BBC series of the same name. Fred Bauder 02:59, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

Characteristics of the Soviet Union

Political system

Single party rule, combined with democratic centralism, which, in practice, consisted of a hierarchical structure which with the aid of a secret police organization enforced decisions made by a small group of leaders on members of the ruling party as well on the personnel of all governmental institutions, including the courts, the press, cultural and economic organizations and labor unions.

Economic system

All property and economic organizations were owned and controlled by the state which administered them according to plans developed by a central planning bureaucracy. Economic planners focused on development of heavy industry and defense industries. Consumer goods had a low priority. Imports were strictly controlled especially in the area of consumer goods and food.

Legal system

A large secret police organization monitored public activities closely; substantial efforts were made to discover expressions of dissent especially by government employees and Communist Party members and their families using a network of informers. Control over overt expressions of dissent was achieved through imprisonment, committment to mental hospitals, and especially during establishment of the regime by death. During the first decades of the regime an extensive system of labor camps was maintained, the Gulag. The judicial system was controlled by the Party. Travel was tightly controlled with International borders closed to both entrance or exit.


Education and political discourse proceeded on the assumption that it was possible to mould people using collectivist institutional forms into an ideal Soviet man or woman. The validity of ideas, public discourse, and institutional form were evaluated in terms of the official ideology of Marxism-Leninism as interpreted by the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Russian domination

Despite the formal organization of the Soviet Union as a federation of republics, control was highly centralized in central institutions dominated by Russians. Russian language and culture predominated in education and public discourse. Nationalities which resisted were subject to repression which in the early years of the regime included mass imprisonment and deportation.

Control of information

All publications and electronic media were censored, use of copying machines was rigidly controlled, imports of written material tightly controlled, foreign electonic media jammed. Access to government documents and press archives was strictly limited.

Foreign affairs

The regime maintained close relationships on a world wide basis with revolutionary parties continuing support for an international movement to supplant capitalism with communism. It saw itself as subject to attack by developed capitalist countries and maintained massive defensive forces over many decades in anticipation of war.

Comments regarding characteristics of the Soviet Union

Now, why exactly did you place that information here rather than integrating it into the various Soviet Union-related articles? (if it isn't there already) I don't think the page on Totalitarianism should involve a subsection on the characteristics of the Soviet Union or any of the other totalitarian societies, especially since there is no universal consensus on which countries were/are "totalitarian". Instead, we should only post links to the articles dealing with various totalitarian (or allegedly totalitarian) states. -- Mihnea Tudoreanu 03:17, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Why? Well this is the article about totalitaritanism and we should have some specific examples of what is involved. I found this list and liked it. It seemed simple and compact. The article should include a definition of what it discusses with examples. It is true that the articles on the Soviet Union should also contain the information, but as a struggle is anticipated in order to include it in any article it seemed best to start here and conserve all our energy. Fred Bauder 12:25, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

See comments at Talk:Soviet Union. This is simply a poorly written bunch of random claims, which present a very one-sided picture and mostly aren't even relevant to totalitarism. There are also a lot of factual errors and distortions. For example (just looking at Control of information, even though all sections have just as many problems), access to press archives was not strictly limited. Access to government archives was not strictly limited (only access to classified documents, just like in all other countries, though one can argue there were too many of them). Furthermore, this is not very relevant to totalitarism by itself, since many countries, e.g. Tsarist Russia, censored all publications, many countries censor electronic publications (by which you probably mean TV and radio), for example FCC does this in the United States. Censorship doesn't imply totalitarism.

It is not a bunch of random items. It is derived from pages 63, 64 of The Second Russian Revolution, ISBN 0886876834 This is a companion book to a BBC series of the same name. As to press archives, if you went into a library in the old Soviet Union you could not look at journals or newspapers older than 3 years old. It isn't one thing, it is them all added up into a system. I'm willing to look at any part of this which you feel is not accurate, but remember the information is about the characteristics of the Soviet Union, not other countries which might sin regarding certain particulars. Fred Bauder 19:04, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

This text simply doesn't add anything valuable to either this article or to Soviet Union. This really looks like an essay about someone's personal opinion and as such is poorly suited for an encyclopedia article. There is little information content that isn't already avialable somewhere else in Wikipedia, but if there is anything, those bits should be rewritten normally in a neutral way and added to relevant articles. Paranoid 13:42, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

While some of this information may be scattered around in various places it also belongs in the articles it is relevant to, this article and Soviet Union, although there I going to take 172's suggestion and flush out Politics of the Soviet Union first, perhaps you two can help with that. Fred Bauder 19:04, Jan 2, 2005 (UTC)

Censorship implies Totalitarianism. Detailed discussion of specific Totalitarian states is necessary. Bauder's information is neutral. Soviet apologists should find articles to edit which do not conflict w their POV's. Sam_Spade (talk · contribs) 18:23, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Censorship doesn't imply Totalitarianism. Otherwise all countries, in particular United States, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom and others are totalitarian. They all practice censorship to some extent. Paranoid 21:00, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I support the inclusion of the summary for the Soviet Union. Of course, all listed items must properly refer to the corresponding articles about Soviet Union wherever possible. If some references are missing, this would be an indication that more work on Soviet Union articles is to be done. By the way, a similar compacet table for Nazi Germany would be handy, since this is another classical example. Mikkalai 19:26, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I hope you don't mind inclusion of more factual information. Paranoid 21:00, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Why is Trotsky in the intro, but not Joseph Stalin?Joe 15:22, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

False and misleading: incompenent or propaganda

I am afraid the USSR section is one good piece of propaganda or incompetency: it mixes true statements with false ones. I agree that this example is important, but it is necessary to weed it out severely. I will try to do this piecesise. Mikkalai 01:43, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Foreign affairs (USSR)

Irrelevant to the definition of totaliarianism. Removed. Mikkalai 01:55, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

You reverted and beat me here with the above note. I hope you will reconsider. I have replaced the following which includes the reference information for the entire section:

Foreign affairs

The regime maintained close relationships on a world wide basis with revolutionary parties continuing support for an international movement to supplant capitalism with communism. It saw itself as subject to attack by developed capitalist countries and maintained massive defensive forces over many decades in anticipation of war.

It is particularly inappropriate to remove the reference information. The actual language in the reference (which is actually a definition of Stalinism) reads, "Foreign affairs Stalin and his successors perceived the Soviet Union as being surrounded by enemies. This led to isolation, and arms build-up, and the cultivation of an 'enemy image' of the West." I believe this consciousness of being "at war" with capitalism explains much about the nature of Soviet totalitarianism, as the Nazi notion of being at war with Zionism explains much in that case. Because they are in a state of war there is the danger of spies and sabotage by foreign powers, etc. And the need to control information, dissent, travel, etc. It is in a sense the engine that drives the rest. Fred Bauder 02:05, Jan 3, 2005 (UTC)

What you say is true, but it is not what was removed. Mikkalai 02:22, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What is said derogatorily about the Soviet Union is true, but it might just as well be stated in an article called "Soviet totalitarianism". This is an article about a generic character of disparate governments, some claiming to be antitheses of the Soviet system. The Soviet Union may have had the most durable and well-defined of all totalitarian systems, but for balance we need to discuss others for similarities and differences, as well as to illustrate what is totalitarian and what isn't, not only with other communist systems, but also with racist, religious-fundamentalist, and fascist systems. I added Apartheid-era South Africa as an example of totalitarianism on grounds that non-whites living in South Africa experienced economic and personal controls similar in many ways to those that a Soviet citizen might endure, and that the system allowed little opportunity for political opposition even among the privileged whites. I needed say little: one could click on "Apartheid" and get the essence of personal tyranny of most persons living in racist South Africa. I also added Taliban rule in Afghanistan. That nazism, Apartheid, and the Taliban were all hostile to the Marxism and the Soviet Union did not make them any less totalitarian. -- 22:14, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Repression of nationalities

I have restored referenced information regarding repression of nationalities. This is an important part of the totalitarian nature of the Soviet Union. The original language in the source reads, "Nationalities The Soviet Union was a centralized, Russified state. Stalin left his mark even before he became supreme leader: as nationalities commissar under Lenin, he established the basic national frontiers within the Soviet state. Later he incorporated the three Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, plus Western Ukraine (taken from Poland) and Moldavia (taken from Romania). After the war he deported whole nations from their homelands for alleged collaboration with the Germans; these included Crimean Tatars, Meskhetian Turks and ethnic Germans." I think there are some inadequacies in this information, especially with time frame. But it belongs in the article as this is one of the defining characteristics of Soviet totalitarian according to those who have that viewpoint.

Again, what you wrote right now is correct, but this is not what was removed. Removed:

Nationalities which resisted were subject to repression which in the early years of the regime included mass imprisonment and deportation.

I personally wrote a number of artciels about repressions of nationalities. I can assure you, their repressions have nothing to do with "resistance to russifiation". I may be wrong, but I will not allow this phrase without original material.

I already see that the book used to create this section was written by underinformed person. For example, the collaboration was far from being "alleged". Mikkalai 02:22, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)

ignored dictators

The articles provided on the wikipedia web site strangely ignore the mention of so many dictatorships present in the world today.such as the de facto totalitarian dictator {Gadafi} in libya and {al assad} in syria.

We are unable to achieve adequate treatment of Stalin and Hitler, minor characters will just have to wait. Fred Bauder 01:33, Jan 14, 2005 (UTC)

I have added the Apartheid system of the former racist regime of South Africa because (1) by the criterion of an attempt to re-shape human relationships, it is totalitarian, (2) it had a well-defined ideology, (3) it made extensive use of media as an outlet of propaganda, (4) that it systematically repressed and exploited large numbers of people for purposes of re-shaping society contrary to the obvious interests of most of its subjects, (5) it consistently exploited real and imagined dangers of horrific enemies, and (6) that its demise was generally recognized in much the same manner as the demise of other totalitarian (especially Communist) states.

Apartheid depended upon single-party domination that the few eligible voters (whites only, of course) had no means of contesting. The racist Nationalist Party was assured of overwhelming majorities in the parliament that prevented any political change not to its liking. It did not need any personality cult as a basis of power, but the personality cult proved unnecessary.

The Apartheid system, in my opinion, merits inclusion due to its durability (roughly the same as communist states in central and southeastern Europe), its formulation of an anti-democratic ideology, and its distinctiveness as a form of tyranny for many of its subjects. South Africa also had and has a fairly large population, as well as regional importance.-- 19:27, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)


The article makes numerous references to the usage of the term by unnamed neoconservatives, but is not engaged in the classic literature on this concept is built by Arendt, Brzezinski, Soper, et al., aside from just briefly mentioning Arendt in the intro. This problem will need to be corrected over time if this is to become a useful encyclopedic entry. 172 17:53, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

We can never know the direction of politics. New forms of tyranny can always arise, and each will merit its own explanation. Tyranny may arise in the aftermath of a coup d'état or a violent revolution, devious usurpation, or even the decay of a democratic system. Almost any foreseeable tyranny will be totalitarian in practice, and if so it will merit its own discussion within this article. A discussion of the specific traits of a totalitarian system of the past may not fir some new tyranny, but the broad similarities will most likely apply.

This article is not fixed in form or content; it can adjust itself in a manner that a printed edition of an encyclopedia can never adjust.

Text from Mind control

This text was in Mind control, but does not belong there. See if you can use this here.

--Zappaz 04:11, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)

deletion of some text

I deleted this:

In the case of the Soviet Union, efforts to reform the system to strengthen its economic base under Gorbachev weakened the totalitarian aspects of the Soviet Union into an authoritarianism more vulnerable to internal pressures; in the former socialist regimes of central and southeastern Europe, the stability of communist régimes depended upon military support from the Soviet Union that never came to the aid of communist rulers.

explanation: this doesn't make any sense.

  1. the reform was not intended to strengthen its economic base. Not to mention that even if it did, it brilliantly succeeded to achieve just the opposite result. In fact, the capital investments dropped during Gorbachev's rule and the planned Union-wide modernisation program was not implemented.
  2. the hypostasing. You pretend that "weakened the totalitarian aspects of the Soviet Union into an authoritarianism" makes any sense, while it doesn't. What totalitarian aspects? Do you have any references to back up this nonsensical claim?
  3. it's all too vague.
  4. stability didn't depend on military support.
  5. the regime didn't explode from within. The influence of the cold war enemies (the United States, first of all), including the support to the internal opposition (dissidents, etc.) was very significant.

Overall, it's a simplification that tosses around some vague terms and doesn't really make sense. It should have no place in the article, until someone can clarify it and back up with any sources. Paranoid 22:08, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm leaving for a little while (and so will not be editing anything for about a week if I do decide to), so I'll give my first thoughts:
  • I didn't write that portion, so I'm not sure who the "you" is addressing. In fact, I believe that part was there long before I even touched this article.
  • It does make sense, however it is vague. The connection to the intentions of glasnost and perestroika to totalitarian "devolution" (if you will) could be made much more explicitly, but it isn't complete nonsense. The question of economic targets could be verified but is mostly common sense--Gorbachev was aware of the "collapse" of already faulty schemes of food production, health care, etc. and wished that his attempt at reforms, rather than being merely a humanitarian gesture of goodwill, would lead to economic expansion and more resources for e.g. military expenditures. Whether it was a success is completely irrelevant. He also didn't intend for the whole country to collapse either.
  • From my brief skimming, the connection between the paragraphs sounds a bit strange with it removed, so at the very least it needs tidied by someone a bit more anal than I often bother to be. Also even "explosion from within" itself sounds rather odd.
  • "stability didn't depend on military support" is a flat out lie, particularly (and specifically) in regard to East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, in that order. If the USSR was not at the backdoor and plenty willing to send troops and supplies, the regimes would have collapsed long before the end of their last decade.
  • It would be prudent to mention the external support for dissident groups, etc., but this didn't change the fact that internal forces removed the regime, not war from outside. --TJive 22:33, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Also see my brief comment at the top of the page. This is relevant to Gorbachev's programs (and posited transition from totalitarianism as well. --TJive 22:35, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

gcheck tag

I copy-edited the article and removed the gcheck tag, which IMHO didn't need to be there in the first place. I made only a few changes. People with more expertise might consider making the tone a little more vernacular and NPOV in some places, but I don't know enough about the topic to help there. If you want to replace the tag for some reason, by the way, please note that gcheck is no longer used - the {{cleanup-copyedit}} template is the new standard. --Epistaxis 20:28, Apr 28, 2005 (UTC)

Totalitarianism in fiction

Animal Farm is a fine read for junior high schoolers but it is an allegory and not a dystopia. The Chronicles of Riddick is not a dystopia either; it is however really bad SF.

Jennifer Government doesn't feature a totalitarian government, if anything the government is the opposite of a Totalitarian one as the government exercises very little control over the corporations whose crimes are at the heart of the book. The book is more of a warning of what may happen if there is too little or no government control over companies and individuals.

Some Eastern European regimes

I deleted the (sloppy) reference to a few movements and governments in Eastern Europe because they were either too vague or inaccurate. The Chetniks were not fascists, and while Hungary experienced Nazi occupation and satellization and Romania quasi-Iron Guard rule, it was not to any significant extent (and of very little significance altogether) as to be considered necessarily totalitarian. If they are to be listed, it should be only in a more comprehensive list of governments which might be considered totalitarian. --TJive 13:32, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Is this sort of thing a sign of totalitarianism?

June 23, 2005 Karl Rove said that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives, he said, "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

about this time he also said "Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

President Bush has backed these statements.

Isn't making sweeping remarks attacking a domestic group a sign of totalitarianism?

No. --TJive June 30, 2005 17:18 (UTC)
How could it be? This is no attempt to control other people; merely voicing the opinion of the administration. It also accurately reflects the opines of conservatives since 9/11. Call it what you will, simply preparing for war after being served with an act of one does not make one totalitarian. Nothing stated above can be classified as totalitarian. Unless your definition of totalitarian is simply: anything conservative. Tom S.

Radical Redefinition Idea!

I've noticed the same problem here as I did on the page for "terrorism". By attempting to find examples to fit the definition, contributors create partisan, heavily POV discussions that simply lead to the rather foolish concept that "it cant be defined". I'm willing to bet that with BOTH pages that if we remove, and enforce ongoing removal, of any and all examples, historical and current, regardless of wether a consensus exists on the worthiness of the examples, then a consensus can be reached on the definition. Then the reader of the article will be free to form his/her own conclusions on what entities fit the definition. I'm going to attempt it. Tom S.

  • Someone take a look... I went ahead and did this to the first two paragraphs. It still makes sense. I think this will really wiki-ize it into NPOV. I'm going to spread this view onto Terrorism.  :) Tom S.

I cant believe someone just ditched my changes without giving me the benefit of talk! How rude! If you look under terrorism I was given the benefit of a talk, and my view is starting to gain some validity there. Give me the benefit of discussion or leave my changes in place. Tom S.

Sorry, I was distracted with other things, and then of course the events of earlier today. I do believe in general the change is destructive so as to quite literally neutralize any real life reference to totalitarianism out of deference to any particular regimes. Most blatantly this is true in the example of the sentence concerning Cuba and Chile were neither were qualified as such but were mentioned explicitly in the context of a dispute over the applicability of the term in ideological and partisan propaganda. --TJive July 8, 2005 02:29 (UTC)
I understand the desire to relate the term to real world examples. The problem is that providing examples can and will start revision wars as ANY political view, no matter how widely criticized, will have its followers. We all have brains; given a simple, definitional exploration of the concept of totalitarianism, we can think of examples in our own minds. But the addition or omission of examples injects POV or the appearance thereof. I, for one, as a member of a free soceity would find it very POV to omit Cuba and Chile as examples of totalitarian governments rather than 'partisan propaganda'. The article should be modified to omit ALL examples, otherwise it may face revision wars by detractors and supporters of the various examples it DOES provide. It comes down to this: the article may state "government X is an example of totalitarinism", and 99% of the world's population may agree with the statement, but someone from the 1% gets offended and adds an alternate example such as "you think Hitler was totalitarian??? oh yeah, well Bush signed the Patriot Act so HE'S totalitarian". Both true from certain points of view. Emphasis on Points Of View. Eliminate ANY example, and enforce the continued emission and there wont be any such problem. My idea seems to be gaining ground in the terrorism section... should work here too! Tom S.
  • PS -- I did not even think about the possiblity of those tragic events interfering with the talk. That was short sighted of me and my complaint comes off as heartless in light of that. My apologies. Tom S.
I would agree to a more careful treatment of reference of examples--which is to say I'm interested in more significant changes that you might perhaps have in mind, but I don't agree that any reference to particular governments needs sanitized, that is, removed. --TJive July 8, 2005 22:07 (UTC)

Of course the other NPOV way of handling it would be to admit that totalitarianism is in the eye of the beholder to some extent and provide separate lists of examples demonstrating the governments which those on the left believe to be totalitarian and which those on the right believe to be totalitarian. This has the advantage of being more informative than the straightforward omission of all examples. -- Derek Ross | Talk 8 July 2005 22:13 (UTC)

No, I don't think so. If it is already difficult enough to accept the terms that the USSR and Nazi Germany are considered totalitarian and working from there it would be impossible to consider what differences are among an amorphous "right" and "left" much less on every question. --TJive July 8, 2005 22:51 (UTC)