Arquivo para April 6th, 2022

The narrative of totalitarianism

06 Apr

It is not just about the war that is the apex of totalitarian action, the attempt to submit peoples and governments to a unilateral truth, to a way of seeing the world that despises others and more than making a history of authoritarianism, it is necessary to understand its origins. and its narrative.

This is how Hannah Arendt faced the issue when she wrote in 1951 “The origins of totalitarianism”, she seemed convinced that after the end of the second world war the problem did not end there, there she talks about hell, the nightmare, the Metamorphosis of Kafda, the onion and even the ugliness of an omelet, among so many other things, when the stories of Auschwitz reached their hands.

When trying to describe the totalitarian experience, the dilemma Arendt faced was that this experience could not be explained, not by political philosophy or traditional concepts, it is not as the culmination of a process of developing something from a past.

I remember a striking sentence by Lygia Fagundes Telles, who died these days when she would have turned 99 on April 16, wrote: “There is no coherence to the mystery or logic to the absurd”, dictators and their narratives only have logic in systematic propaganda, and in a cheerleading than other fanatics who support him and identify with him.

This form of narrative that Arendt wrote found opposition in a contemporary such as Voegelin to which she replied: “I did not write a history of totalitarianism, but an analysis in historical terms of the elements that crystallized in totalitarianism” (ARENDT, 2007, p. 403) ).

He also wrote in the “Crisis of the Republic”, that the first fundamental difference between totalitarianism and the other categories present in history is the fact that totalitarian terror “turns not only against its enemies, but also against its friends and defenders”. “; a second difference would be its radicality, which makes it capable of eliminating not only the freedom of action of individuals as tyrannies did through political isolation., eliminating not only opponents but also unreliable allies, there is a clear parallel in the current war.

In her note number 81, Arendt wrote: “The total number of Russians killed during the four years of war is estimated at between 12 and 21 million. In just one year, Stalin exterminated around 8 million people in Ukraine alone. See Communism in action, U.S. Government, Washington, 1946, House Document No. 754, pp. 140-1”, again the similarity with the current War is not by chance, and after Butcha these days Mariupol (photo) will be able to live a similar drama.

The last topic of Arendt’s book is: “Ideology and terror: a new form of government”, anyone interested in avoiding totalitarianism just read it, it is likely that someone will become aware of this terror.

ARENDT, H. (2007) Origins of Totalitarianism. trans. Roberto Raposo. São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia das Letras (in portuguese).