Real Totalitarianism

Once again, I want to clarify the analogy I draw between the USSR and the system that is coming into existence in free, prosperous Western countries.

First of all, let’s clarify out terminology. Communism never existed anywhere on this planet. The USSR was a socialist country.

The US is a capitalist country. Sweden is a capitalist country. Canada is a capitalist country. There’s no chance these countries will be anything other than capitalist in the foreseeable future.

But the economy isn’t the most important thing like Marx thought. Soft totalitarianism in a neoliberal capitalist state looks very similar to the soft totalitarianism of the post-Stalin USSR.

Truly, the similarities are eerie. And we are absolutely nowhere near yet in the West to what the USSR really was. But we are going in that direction very fast. And what’s most disturbing, nobody is making us. We aren’t being terrorized or coerced by a repressive state. We are freely choosing to do to ourselves what the Soviet authorities had to bully people into. That’s what makes it scary.

So once again, I’m not worried that the US will become Communist. Even the USSR never managed that or claimed to do so.

Neither am I worried that the US will become socialist.

The fear of a repressive state dragging people to the Gulag is completely ridiculous, and I don’t experience it at all.

What I’m fearing is the formation in the West of a totalitarian regime imposed not by the state or a dictator. This regime will be encouraged and supported by the corporate world. Its strictures will be freely chosen by all of us either through open collaboration or through inertia and lack of energy to resist.

Totalitarianism isn’t about economic systems. It isn’t even about governments. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way to relate to each other and to ourselves. It’s the complete subjection of our inner lives and every aspect of our behavior to “the common good.” It’s the destruction of human individuality and the substitution of it with dogma imposed through fear and terror. It’s the stamping out of everything that makes us human because that’s the price of admission into society.

Almost nobody on this blog has experienced it, and I know it’s very hard to understand if you haven’t. It sounds like weird, overwrought verbiage. And I agree that it does. But I don’t know how to explain it better.

In the USSR that I lived in we weren’t afraid of physical death at the hands of the state. The true danger was dying inside. And many people, probably most, didn’t survive. It’s such a sad thing, you have no idea. That’s what’s coming here and it terrified me.

28 thoughts on “Real Totalitarianism”

  1. I think the major issue we’re facing is that we trade in words (“liberal” “capitalist” “socialist” “communist”) that we rarely analyze, and are embedded in a system that few of us really understand. People talk about Adam Smith (“the invisible hand”) and Marx (“revolution of the proletariat”) without having read them, and most have never even heard of critical people like David Ricardo (the true philosopher of the capitalist and rentier class, whose ideology of elite “aristocratic” dominance of the economy is our true ruling ideology).

    Much of Marx is merely prophesy, most of which has come and is coming to pass. See the first part of the Manifesto. Capital is like water in that it seeks the lowest possible wages internationally. Technology, despite what poor Nat Ludd would wish, is ineluctable in its application. You can’t defeat a tank with a spear, and you can’t defeat a drone with a tank. Traditional ways of life are utterly overturned and destroyed by technological revolution and by capitalist adoption of that technology. See the Pill. The internet. Robotics. AI…

    Capital is the merely means of production. Marxist Communism does not eliminate capital, it just abolishes private ownership of capital, placing control of capital by an elite technocratic class selected by proletarian committees, the soviets. Personal property is also eliminated, and all goods are distributed by these same committees, according to need and accomplishment within the system.

    Ricardo, in contrast, posits a system controlled by an elite class of owners, whose superior virtue (intelligence, creativity, discipline, restraint) justifies them receiving the bulk of the profit of capital – the proletariat deserves – and needs – only a subsistence wage. The higher level servants of the elite capitalists receive more in recognition of their disciplined skill. The hoi palloi however, deserve only enough corn to survive and man the factory machinery, and a hovel (which they do not own, but pay rent to their master for) in which to consume it. Note that Ricardo’s ally, the Right Rev. Thomas Malthus, sees human beings as no different than animals in the wild, whose populations are strictly governed by availability of food. He is a forerunner of Darwinistic Herbert Spencer and Francis Galton, who would have the unneeded poor die of over work and starvation.. As their disciples Stalin actuated in the Gulag and Holomodor, Hitler in the Stalags and Holocaust, and Mao, Pol Pot and others in various other ways and places.

    Socialism – defined as the state controlling capital, the means of production – is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution in the Postal Service and national armed forces. Historically, the American state (federal, state and communal) has and still controls about a third of the economy, in the form of the divers bureaucracies and utilities (phone and electric grids, power plants and dams, railroads, the vast federal tree farms, naval yards, military bases and arsenals, prisons, nearly all public infrastructure like roads bridges tunnels, etc., etc.).

    What we are seeing now is the technocratic class taking full control of the economy, and banishing normal people from control almost entirely. The mechanisms they are using are different than Lenin and Stalin’s, closer to Hitler and Mussolini’s but the result is still consolidation of power in the hands of the technocratic elite. The vote – which has always been compromised, is now being totally subverted in their favor. Unions, and state and local governance are being eviscerated in favor of national and international programs of governance.

    Feminism and the sexual revolution are elements of the larger corporate program to undermine local political power. The family is the most essential element of common, “lower class” power. All “feminist” rhetoric denigrating the home, and valorizing “paid labor” as the only meaningful labor is designed to destroy the freedom of common people, and make them dependent upon the state and technocracy for their sustenance.

    The peasant or redneck who controls enough land to farm or hunt, and has the skills to live a sustainable life is insulated from their power to a large degree. The 1929 crash and dustbowl where the banks stripped the American farmers of their land (over 70% of Americans were small famers in 1929, now less than 1% are) and market manipulations like the 2008 crash (which stripped many people of their homes and equity) are all of a piece..

    Just as Social Security and pensions and massive accumulated older generational wealth weaken intergenerational bonds, and feminism destroys solidarity between men and women, husbands and wives within the family dissolving the essential fabric of our community, capital destroys local equity and power with economies of scale.. Just as public education and child care “frees” women to become wage slaves, and alienates her from her children, and allows them to be indoctrinated by the state..

    The fabric of community has been deliberately weakened for several generations now, and is about to catastrophically tear. Just as it did in the Russian Empire in 1917, and Germany and China in the 1930’s and 40’s.. The gnostic revolution continues at pace. The Marquis de Sade, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir and all those other satanists are down there with Milton in hell, smug with diabolic pleasure, chortling with spite, writhing with agony and hatred, but very very pleased.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Totalitarianism isn’t about economic systems. It isn’t even about governments. It’s a state of mind. It’s a way to relate to each other and to ourselves.”

    Maybe this is why Jesus words were so powerful, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The freedom of faith in God cannot be subdued by any party system. This is what initially made America strong, but the culture has abandoned this freedom and embraced not godlessness, but state worship. The people want technocracy. They want security and will gladly surrender their freedoms. I have relatives who say, “I pay my taxes. I deserve free “fill in the blank!”

    I grieve this, but not without hope. I hope in God and feel secure in my future after death. I hope not in this world, but in the next. But I will also fight to keep my freedoms for as looking ad I am alive. And so will many others. We will not go quietly into that dark night.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I should add that our bankster masters are currently eviscerating the middle class economy with this COVID scare, by throwing millions out of work, and destroying the small business economy wholesale.. Local political power and economic control is anathema to them.

    They have the same homicidal motives and goals that Stalin did in starving out the traditional, prosperous, small land holding Kulaks. Kulak power was independent of the elite’s, and had to be destroyed.

    We must not be allowed to work for, or decide for ourselves. We must obey our betters in Beijing, New York, London and Berlin.. Or die..

    Or is it and die?

    I have a funny hunch we’re about to find out, to see..

    (cf. Klimov, St. John: “Come and see..”)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly! And it’s so blatant yet most people don’t notice. This is what scares me. It’s been so easy to inflict this on us and get an almost universal compliance.

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  4. These things, however, are the things I don’t like about the U.S. — the materialism, the lack of inner life, the idea that if you can’t sell something for money or make money with it, it’s not interesting. People raised Christian/Republican are some of the worst about this, especially the men, I find

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    1. This is very clear whenever there’s a discussion about college and “worthless liberal arts degrees.” Mind you, these degrees may be becoming worthless, but it’s not because these degrees are “impractical” or because English majors aren’t making the same fat stacks of cash as doctors and engineers. That’s not the only way the value of an education is measured.

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    2. “things I don’t like about the U.S.”

      I know what you mean, but… there’s a qualitative difference that’s hard to put into words. Some people are just kind of… limited (for lack of a better word).
      What Clarissa’s talking about is… different. It’s very obvious in those who clearly are capable of an inner life but have trained themselves to disregard anything non-utilitarian.
      Let’s put it this way – I’ve known some happy, shallow, materialistic people in the US – but the people Clarissa’s talking about have eliminated the possibility of happiness, they’ve stomped it right out of themselves.

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      1. In 1998 I told my college friends I was leaving for Canada. They immediately stopped talking to me. Like I wasn’t there. Then they started openly to steal from me. It wasn’t the Soviet times and they didn’t see me as traitor or anything like that. Nobody was angry with me for leaving. But I wasn’t of any use anymore. Professors immediately started extorting bribes threatening to ruin my paperwork.

        In Canada, when I was leaving for the US, students and professors threw me a surprise farewell party.

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          1. I’m serious. I’ve worked more than one place where we threw farewell parties even for people nobody liked working with, and we were glad to see leave! Any excuse for cake, right?

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      2. Maybe I’ve known some happy, shallow and materialistic people in the US but the shallow and materialistic ones I’ve met are usually not happy, and they take Prozac and things and try to feel happier.

        What you say is interesting, though. Do you think the US non-starving classes are becoming Brave New World now?

        Anyway, I am just too rebellious, I cannot stand my online course on how to teach online, it is the worst-designed course I ever saw and the most mind-numbing. You are supposed to memorize things from a manual and regurgitate them. If I do this, and sexual harassment, and ethics, and who knows what other compliance training, I will be a complete robot.

        I don’t want them to fail me in this course yet I do not want to try harder. I totally relate to the students in this way.

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        1. ” I cannot stand my online course on how to teach online”

          My university has had a number of…. webinars or whatnot, I watched one, said “never again!”. A very conscientious colleague attended a bunch and told me I wasn’t missing anything…

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            1. “corporate training, and that is why they are so bad”

              Well the one I watched wasn’t corporate (corporate culture – it makes everything crap!) it was well-meaning people, mostly instructors (who are clearly not dumb) trying to make the best of a bad situation and not having much of an idea of where/how to start or make anything better.

              It didsn’t instill rage the way corporate obedience training would, it just seemed like a waste of time and effort that could be much more productively used…

              I can almost hear the decay in students now, not only not learning much (if anything) but regressing…

              Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s what we were always told back in the USSR. And now it’s part of the Russian party line. “We are highly spiritual, and Americans are materialistic.” It’s the same as when the Franco dictatorship proclaimed that Spain was not materialistic like the US to conceal the fact that people had nothing to eat.

      But in reality, I haven’t met people more habituated to the life of the mind than Americans. People keep asking why I don’t have a blog or a YouTube channel in Russian. But I have nothing to say to my people. There’s nothing I have they will be interested in.

      And a small anecdote. My mom visited a lifelong friend in Ukraine a few years back. She brought a ton of presents that she had been selecting for months for each family member according to their interests and preferences.

      The friend looked at the gifts and said, “hey, can you just give me their value in cash instead?”

      These weren’t people who were starving. At least, not physically.

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      1. “We are highly spiritual, and Americans are materialistic.”

        From “Russian Journal” by Andrea Lee, who spent 10 months or so in the USSR (Moscow and Leningrad) in the late 1970s when hardly any Americans could do that)

        “…it hurts to be called materialistic, when over these months in Russia, I’ve been exposed to the rankest form of materialism: the curiosity and desire of the have-nots.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. People who didn’t grow up in the USSR or Cuba have absolutely no idea what materialistic means, and I stand by that statement. And it’s understandable, we weren’t allowed to want anything else.

          My aunt stole my elderly greatgrandmother’s apartment. The old lady isn’t related to her. She’s my relative on my father’s side. The aunt convinced the old lady to sign the paperwork. OK, whatever. I get it. But here’s the real nasty stuff. The old lady had family heirlooms. Stuff with no value to others but a ton of value to the descendants. Things that survived the Holocaust, family photographs, that kind of stuff.

          We begged the aunt to give it back. Keep the apartment, just return the photo albums. But she threw it all away. Not because she hates us and wanted to be cruel. Not at all. She just doesn’t get it. Old, dusty souvenirs. Who needs them? Just buy yourself something new instead.

          Folks, I have these stories to fill a thick volume. Klara’s paternal grandmother never saw her only grandchild, not even in a photo. We don’t have a conflict of any sorts. She just doesn’t care, can’t be bothered. We help her financially, so why does she want to bother with us beyond that? But hey, grandma isn’t equally uninterested in everybody. She has a gigantic presence in her daughter’s life. Why is the daughter more interesting than the son? Easy. She’s very rich and dating a rich banker.

          These aren’t isolated cases. It’s a way of being.

          God, what was done to us.

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  5. How awful, the friend. It is true, there are people in U.S. interested in the life of the mind; there are in the other countries I know too, though. I don’t know enough about E. Europe and post Sovietness to understand it. The Russian Empire seemed really messed up too, Dostoevski, Gogol and Tolstoi all seem extremely disturbed to me (my family knew and like Tolstoi, but I don’t know that they, too were not also disturbed, so . . . ).

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    1. Jones got a lot of press earlier this year trying to play “whistleblower” about FL’s COVID dashboard. She seemed really sketchy at the time, and has been really making hay as some kind of lefty martyr-saint ever since. IMO she has a con-artist vibe. Who knows?

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      1. ” IMO she has a con-artist vibe”

        That’s the impression I got after googling a couple of minutes, but con-artist or not the raid was clearly excessive force and an unacceptable.

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