Musements on American, Continental, and cross-tradition philosophical thought.
what do you mean by totalitarian?
What I mean is not immediately relevant since I am not the author of the article, but I will give my own definition after this quote from the author, Adam Kotsko, who uses the word "totalitarian":"And in any case, the political ideology Americans are fed from birth teaches them to fear an effective state bureaucracy offering a wide range of well-administered services as the first step toward totalitarian fascist communism — when in reality, the party duopoly that prevents such a thing from arising is actually what makes our system most akin to 20th century “totalitarianism.”"What I mean by the term, which Mr. Kotsko is likely to debate, is that the governing apparatus of a people has absolute control of the people. I write "governing apparatus" because the whole point of Mr. Kotsko's essay to to note that while the American right fears a bureaucratic totalitarianism of the state, and the American left fears an ideological totalitarianism of either the state or culture, the true source of 20th century totalitarianism is the modern two-party state. That is, given how the party system operates in recent American history, we have a de facto totalitarian regime in the making, since party politics allows either party to commit just about anything as long as not to much "political hay" is made. To be concrete, both Bush Jr. and Obama have engaged in war crimes, and this shouldn't be too controversial a claim upon an examination of the facts. However, the prosecuting either case is nearly impossible because the political parties will protect their own and refuse to cooperate in any juridical action that might endanger their power. But this is to say that political power is more important than law, justice, or even basic governing if you think about our recent budget issues. Hence, Mr. Kotsko claims that we are already well on the way to a totalitarian state since (political) power is all that matters and the people appear to have little ability (or wilingness) to change this. Whenever they do attempt this, such as the Tea Party movement, then they either engage in partisan politics that reinforces exactly what they were trying to overcome, or they become as irrelevant as the 99% movement.