Posted 26 августа 2021, 07:35

Published 26 августа 2021, 07:35

Modified 25 декабря 2022, 20:57

Updated 25 декабря 2022, 20:57

Totalitarianism vs State

26 августа 2021, 07:35
Дмитрий Шушарин
Recently, status experts have been lamenting: oh, this is no longer authoritarianism, but totalitarianism, meaning by totalitarianism something like communism or developed socialism, which were considered the result of the development of simply socialism.

At the same time, modern thinkers are afraid of the word "totalitarianism".

Dmitry Shusharin, historian

It is as apocalyptic to them as the old communism. In particular, Dmitry Travin writes:

"After all, if the regime is totalitarian, then there will be no normal development. For people who do not believe in the genius of the leader and the truth of his ideas, totalitarianism turns into complete hopelessness... In an authoritarian system, no matter how unpleasant it is to us, there is an opportunity to do at least something For the transformation of the country in the future.If we today soberly assess the situation, and do not tear our hair with a cry “Totalitarianism!”, then we stay and work.In those niches that still exist in our country. We are engaged in science, despite the insane bureaucratization. We tell the children that the country can still become different, although the authoritarian regime has done a lot to make thinking people lose faith in the future of Russia".

That is, the most important thing is what to call it all. It is already ridiculous and ridiculous, as is the desire to "do at least something" depending on the name. And it is completely incomprehensible why "doing at least something" is limited to such a narrow sphere. And why should everyone scatter at the word "totalitarianism"? More than a hundred years of Russian totalitarianism is not at all fruitless, why should such an interpretation of what is happening in Russia now turn it into a desert?

In fact, this is a proverb, an involuntary admission that no activity, except for those under the authority, is of interest to that part of the status intelligentsia, which Travin represents. And this is a derivative of the depersonalization of consciousness and identity of the named social group. Success for her has only a social dimension, these people do not understand what personal development is without increasing status. Thinkers, artists, writers who created masterpieces, regardless of the name of the social structure in which they lived and worked, are eccentrics and losers for them.

And no one formulates definitions of authoritarianism and totalitarianism, and when he tries to say something on this topic, he shows complete ignorance, he has torn off the entire tradition of studying totalitarianism of which for almost a hundred years. The study of totalitarianism still hinders adherence to schoolchildren's stereotypes about the absolute power of the state as the main feature of this system. Meanwhile, Hannah Arendt, whom no one really reads, ascends the understanding of totalitarianism as the destruction of the state, replacing it with quasi-state formations, in which the social element is very significant. Totalitarianism is not oppression, but a consensus, not the omnipotence of the state, but its dissolution in the unity of power and society. Totalitarianism grows out of democracy, not out of the weakness of democratic traditions in previous history. And it is not a return to pre-democratic history, but a way out of history, a reception of barbarism and primitiveness. These are the conclusions not only of Arendt, but of her predecessors (Ortega y Gasset, Borkenau, Orwell), and those who belonged to the next generation of researchers. Such are Brzezinski and Friedrich, who were the first to speak of a totalitarian consensus.

The second is a consequence of the first: the role of society in the formation and functioning of totalitarianism is ignored, it all comes down to suppression, and not to the consensus on which totalitarianism rests. The presumption of the correctness of society is recognized, any public action, even sometimes violent, is considered positive.

Disputes about the differences between totalitarianism and authoritarianism are pointless - they are qualitatively different phenomena. Authoritarianism is just a style of leadership, a form of exercising power, a method of government. Totalitarianism is a unified system for organizing power and society, in which authoritarian methods are not the only ones. The principles of the corporate state, Nazi and current Russian philanthropy are not at all authoritarian, as are petition activities. The so-called direct, extra-institutional democracy is completely totalitarian.

History knows at least two examples of how authoritarian rule - yes, cruel and sometimes unjust - stopped the advent of totalitarianism. Such were the regimes of Franco and Pinochet, who prepared the transition to democracy, which is completely impossible within totalitarianism, which destroys both the state and society, while authoritarian regimes are focused on institution building and preserving the existing social stratification, for this construction and the transition to democracy are underway in dialogue with constructive social communities.

The third concerns the area of distribution of totalitarianism, which is understood as any repressive system almost from the ancient Eastern despotism, although the same Arendt explains why regimes alien to democracies in interwar Europe cannot be called totalitarian. This term also does not apply to modern Asian and African countries, as it does to almost all Latin American dictatorships, since the most important sign of totalitarianism is a combination of isolationism and aggressiveness, opposition to the civilized world. Therefore, in Latin America, only Cuba and Venezuela can be called totalitarian.

The use of the term "totalitarianism" is limited to the Judeo-Christian civilization and those nations that have attempted to go beyond its value system. We are talking about several European countries that, starting from 1917, established atavistic regimes that returned them not to the Middle Ages, but to primitiveness. At the same time, various ideological constructions were used that did not interfere with aesthetic and sometimes political rapprochement.

A crisis in the triad leads to totalitarianism: identity - values - institutions, but not any crisis, but one whose content is the depersonalization of all three components. Brzezinski and Friedrich saw the origin of totalitarianism in a combination of democracy and modern technologies - communication and political. I will continue: institutionality and technological effectiveness become an instrument of totalitarianism, if they do not have the main component of democracy - a person, a human personality. The formula of totalitarianism is: institutions - technology - the masses, that is, democracy minus the individual. It is precisely “minus personality” that is observed now in all state and public institutions of Russia.

Nobody has a definition of totalitarianism, there are only descriptions, lists of arbitrarily chosen features. Ironically, Arendt's writings are least helpful in developing a definition. But relying on Ortega y Gasset and Brzezinski and Friedrich, we can formulate as follows:

Totalitarianism is an atavistic perversion of democracy.

Totalitarianism is a way out of the minority, which is made up of democratic countries. But this way out is not the same as joining the majority of states that simply parasitize on the Judeo-Christian civilization. This is a denial of the values and principles of this civilization, aggression and expansion. The concepts of "internal" and "foreign policy" were relative even in the era of classical totalitarianism - it was a disease of both nations and civilization as a whole. Totalitarianism strove and is striving not towards isolation, but towards integration, towards adapting to its needs the achievements of that civilization, whose fundamental values and principles it denies and destroys.

The main thing is formulated by Hannah Arendt: the state is destroyed by totalitarianism as a representative of the interests of all social groups. This is very important - everyone. What is happening is what she called the collapse of social stratification - the transformation of the population into a mass. This is discussed in the tenth chapter of the "Origins of totalitarianism". This chapter is called "Classless Society", which is completely incomprehensible to those within the Soviet humanitarian discourse. Such a society for them was the communism of the future, while it was real socialism and the real Third Reich.

Before Arendt, Ortega y Gasset talked about the fate of the state conquered by the uprising of the masses, who observed the emergence of Russian and Italian models of totalitarianism. He was perhaps the first to see how democracy is being reborn into something exactly the opposite:

Democracy and law were inseparable. Today we are witnessing the triumph of hyper-democracy, when the masses act directly, apart from the law, imposing their will and their tastes on the entire society. "

The Revolt of the Masses was published in full in 1930, when the Spanish thinker was already clear about the same nature of the regimes of Stalin and Mussolini and their origin from what he called hyper-democracy, devoid of a liberal principle, that is, depersonalized. Almost ten years later, Franz Borkenau came to similar conclusions when he considered the mutual rapprochement of two allies (at the time of writing his book "Totalitarian Enemy") - Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Borkenau, called fascism the most extreme political form of the most extreme variety of socialism. The conclusions of his book about Nazism as Brown Bolshevism and Bolshevism as Red Fascism; that fascist tendencies manifested themselves in communist Russia earlier than the Bolshevik tendencies in Nazi Germany were discussed in detail in a review by George Orwell, published on May 4, 1940,

Comparing the German and Russian models of totalitarianism, Borkenau came to the same conclusions as Ortega y Gasset, who compared the regimes of Stalin and Mussolini - about the product of totalitarianism by a democracy devoid of liberal content. Liberalism seeks to limit the power and intervention of the state to a person's life. Democracy, on the other hand, is capable of subordinating the minority to the majority, in all spheres - from politics and property rights to private life and attitudes towards religion. And therefore Borkenau recognizes the right of the Nazi and Soviet regimes to be called democratic. But liberalism for them is a mortal enemy.

Borkenau's priority should also be restored with regard to the classless nature of the Russian and German models of totalitarianism. In his interpretation, both in Russia and in Germany not a single class, not a single social group coped with the general crisis that hit the world. Borkenau sees this as a cultural crisis; I prefer to talk about an identity crisis. As a result, non-class groups came to the fore, suppressing all other classes. Such is the Nazi elite, which recruited representatives of various groups who changed their corporate values to the principles and goals of the movement, such were the professional revolutionaries in Russia who laid the foundation for a new nomenclature.

We can talk about two paradoxes of totalitarianism. The first is its democratic origin and its destruction of democratic institutions. The second is the need for external isolation for internal governance and external expansion. But there is also a third paradox. Totalitarianism is popular, but anti-national.

When pronouncing the word "people", we include connotations with the non-verbalized part of the picture of the world, ideas about good and evil, and the world order. With all that is commonly called tradition, patriarchy, prejudice, archetypes, the collective unconscious. With everything extra-institutional and anti-institutional. Genuine opposition to totalitarianism, not internal opposition, is always anti-people.

But anti-national - everything that is aimed at preventing the formation and development of a new European nation, a return to tribal archaism and barbarism.