Aristotle defined tyranny as an illegitimate form of government by one individual that tightly controlled every part of life and government. Adolf Hitler is the most notorious tyrant. Using a totalitarian society from the past or present, discuss how the state and its leader attempt to impede citizens from exercising their rights. In your discussion, explain some components of an “ideal citizen,” consequences of voter apathy, and ways the state controls the citizen.
Writing Requirements (APA format)
Length: 1.5-2 pages (not including title page or references page)
12-point Times New Roman font
References page (minimum of 2 scholarly sources)
Totalitarianism entails a form of government that works towards impeding its citizens from actualizing their rights and freedoms. The form of meddling by these regimes goes all the way to inhibiting the citizen’s both public and private lives. In order to gain control of a nation, a totalitarian regime uses strategies such as employment of one ruling party, ruling through fear, media censorship, prohibiting any form of government criticism, and expanding dictatorship among other ways. According to Magstadt (2017), they are regimes that present a desolate contrast between ends and means through the diabolical deeds that they bring as they pursue utopian dreams.
A good example of a totalitarian society to examine is Germany under Adolf Hitler. Hitler used ways such as[cmppp_restricted] propaganda, violence and scapegoating to exert control over the citizens. When it comes to propaganda, he had gone to the extent of even establishing the “Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.” The ministry was used to penetrate virtually all forms of media in the country and feed the people with the information that they wanted to be perceived as being desirable (Toland, 2015). Hitler’s government had come with a way of creating slogans that were availed to the masses all the time so that they can stick to their minds.
Violence, on the other hand, was demonstrated on how Hitler used the police (Gestapo) to control the people by way of terror. People could be arrested for no particular reason, while others were being killed aimlessly (Toland, 2015). This sent the message that anyone bad mouthing Hitler would either end up in a concentration camp or dead.
Scapegoating, on its part, was directed towards the Jews. Anything bad that would happen to the economy or other aspects of life was blamed on them. It was made to seem as if they were the source of all the problems that Germany was experiencing. This made it possible for Hitler to bring people together so that they can hate on them. With the advent of increased intermarriages, Hitler’s government tried to show how the German blood; which was the superior race was being weakened and destroyed (Toland, 2015).
The concept of being an “ideal citizen” is what makes it easy for totalitarianism like the one from Hitler to thrive. An ideal citizen is expected to be law-abiding, dutiful, ready to serve the country in times of external dangers and war, proud of the country’s heritage and history, and strives for peace and harmony among other components (Saxena, 2015). Living with such components makes it easy for totalitarian governments to establish control over people.
Voter Apathy is also among the things that keep totalitarian regimes in power for long. This is because most citizens lack any interest in participating in elections, and hence, most of the people that end up voting are the ones favoring the regime as they benefit in one way or another. Mostly voter apathy is brought about by voter fatigue and alienation.
Nonetheless, totalitarianism can be eliminated despite the control the government might have on people. This can be achieved through political socialization and civil disobedience. When it comes to political socialization, families should take the initiative of communicating positive political ideologies among each other all the time. This would help in enlightenment hence kicking out bad politics holistically. Mass media, on the other hand, should ensure there is no spread of political information that is propaganda in nature. Civil disobedience, on its part, would work if citizens refused to obey certain demands, laws, commands or orders (Saxena, 2015). The Hitler regime itself was stopped through invasion and conquest. The Soviet totalitarian regime on its part was negated through minor internal rebellions just to mention a few examples.
Magstadt, T. M. (2017). Understanding politics: Ideas, institutions, and issues (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
Saxena, S. (2015). Dictatorship, fascism, and totalitarianism. Britannica Digital Learning.
Toland, J. (2015). Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. New York: Anchor Books. [/cmppp_restricted]