cries of Cassandra
In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.
Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow.
The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.
~ Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I.
Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time — Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia — which she adroitly recognizes were two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing philosophies of Right and Left.
From this vantage point, she discusses the evolution of classes into masses, the role of propaganda in dealing with the nontotalitarian world, the use of terror, and the nature of isolation and loneliness as preconditions for total domination.
This has become a very possible reality in the Philippines under the political tandem of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. — son of the country’s one and only martial law dictator — and Sara Duterte — daughter of the country’s worst ever president and human rights violator.
Baby Junior may be mistakenly seen as harmless — a brainless weakling driven by his voracious mother, wife and sisters to reclaim their glory days and ill-gotten wealth. Sara the Goon is shameless in her power grabs and political positioning — declaring to all that what she wants she better get, or else.
Together their totalitarian state is the expression of their ideology through the masses, through their leadership, and through each other. They poison the well and make demands as mouth pieces of the collective will. It’s not the individual mind or person they care for, but the collective.
A collective composed of the mob, their cronies, and themselves. As Arendt warns, “The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rest[s] largely on this genuine delight with the former watch[ing] the latter destroy respectability.”
In Hitler’s Reich people who worried only about their private lives and not the corruption of the state were easily taken over. The government eventually killed off their original intellectuals because anything creative is a danger to changing things.
As the Marcos and Duterte fathers have done overtly to the artists, media, and sympathizers who dared oppose them — their children are covertly sowing their own brand of destruction. Be vigilant and vocal witnesses. #neveragain
“Whenever totalitarian movements seize power, this whole group of sympathizers was shaken off even before the regimes preceded towards their greatest crime. Intellectual, spiritual, and artistic initiative is as dangerous to totalitarianism as the gangster initiative of the mob — and both are more dangerous than mere political opposition.”
Originally published at http://changewarrior.blogspot.com.