No Minister

Some proposed measures of totalitarianism and their application to an existing situation

Like a lot of ideology and politics there are terms thrown around with gay abandon which, sooner or later, descend into fights about definitions.

One of the oldest such fights is around one of the original forms of totalitarianism, “communism”. Starting with whether we’re talking the Upper or Lower-case version. Of course the failures of Communism, starting as soon as people tried to put it into practice in the USSR in the 1920’s, effectively chewed away any respect one might have had for the theory, especially as all the apologists were steadily revealed as either liars or fools.

The final renunciation came in 1991 with the collapse of the originator of Communism In Practice, the USSR. Moreover, since it was the vaunted People themselves who did the renunciation, who promptly uncovered decades of lies about almost everything the regime had done, and who revealed just how abjectly useless, cruel, stupid and clownish the whole thing had been, the best possible emotion that appeared was not disgust and condemnation (although there was that), but laughter and ridicule.

As a result almost nobody calls themselves a communist nowadays. Almost. There’s still North Korea of course, but Real Communists denounce that as State Capitalism, even as the Hermit Kingdom also castigates its huge neighbour, China, as having lost the faith.

Meantime, the same sort of definitional fights are happening all over again with things like “Woke” (“nobody over 30 should use it”), Cancel Culture, Trans-issues and Critical Race Theory. The latter – now that pushback is happening – is being argued as merely another theory from the halls of academia: take no notice of what it has been turned into for US K-12 schools and corporate HR departments, where “White = Racist” is taught to little kids and senior managers alike.

Such things can’t be totalitarian, can they?

Rather than wasting time getting into definitional arguments framed by the people pushing all these theories and making excuses for them, the famous US economist Thomas Sowell, in his 1996 book, Knowledge And Decisions (which I strongly recommend be read) proposed seven features by which totalitarianism can be identifed. Note that most, but not all, of these can apply in bodies outside of the State.

  1. “the localization of evil in Jews, capitalists, or some other group – so that comprehensive political solutions to age-old human problems seem feasible within a reasonable time horizon by surgically removing the offending group, leaving a healthy body politic intact”.
  2. “the localization of wisdom, to explain why this miraculous cure has escaped so many minds for so many centuries, as well as explaining the necessity for superseding democratic institutions and beliefs”
  3. “a single scale of values by which priorities may arranged in every field of human endeavor, to be achieved ‘at all cost’”
  4. “the presupposition of sufficient knowledge to achieve whatever goal may be projected”
  5. “the urgency of the ‘problem’ to be ‘solved’ so that ruthlessness is the lesser of two evils”
  6. “a psychic identification with millions, whose opinions may nevertheless be disregarded and whose lives may be sacrificed in the cause, without feelings of guilt”
  7. the creation of “a self-enclosed system, to exclude alternative views and visions” and “convert questions of fact into questions of motive”

So let’s apply this to our current situation in New Zealand.

Looks like a good fit, and I didn’t even mention the $110 million of government-funded MSM support.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 24, 2021 at 5:25 pm

9 Responses

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  1. I guess if it were anybody else I’d just get banned by the likes of Adolf, Vet, PDM and GD.

    Fortunately I’m commenting on Tom’s blogs and he allows me to comment despite being a shit-posting troll who employs sock-puppets.

    I’m working on being better.

    St Jude

    October 24, 2021 at 5:42 pm

  2. Okay, okay. I admit that I’m a shit-posting troll hiding behind multiple identities, even hitting all three: the pseuds, the email addresses and the IP addresses.

    But I can still hurl the accusation “coward”, because I have no shame, being a shit-posting troll of course.

    And I can do this all day.

    St Jude

    October 24, 2021 at 5:52 pm

  3. “The presumption of sufficient knowledge”. Bang on. Early in my career I thought very highly of those senior staffers who could expostulate on any issue in meetings. But now I prefer the senior person who responds “I don’t know”. Not there is any such person Because it’s not nearly as helpful to those executives who want an answer and a solution and a warm feeling of making progress. To give executives that warm feeling, we all pretend to know.

    Dennis

    October 24, 2021 at 6:24 pm

  4. Great summary. Thank you.

    Kevn

    October 24, 2021 at 6:49 pm

  5. We have had incompetent Governments in the past but never one that is pure EVIL as this one is.

    The current lot in Wellington have joined the ranks of the most malignant people in history.

    Andrei

    October 24, 2021 at 9:48 pm

  6. Nice post. I got my double jabs, all the while bemused that it’s a very short term thing with potential side effects, but hey, TEAM NZ right? But the latest requirement to have a job or buy a coffee needs a passport?

    That is a step too far.

    It’s one thing to be “Fritzled” by Jacinda and the government, but to flog a few percentage points of the population in the name of Sophie’s Choice?

    I got my double jabs, but I am no longer part of Team NZ.

    Oh, by the way, howdy all you old timers. Good to see the blog is doing well.

    ZenTiger

    October 24, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    • Wow. First Lucia reappears and now you. Old timers indeed. I can only assume you got tired of saying the same stuff to the same unlistening audiences?

      Tom Hunter

      October 25, 2021 at 11:45 am

    • It was such a long time ago, I can’t really remember. I think I found it was just consuming too much time and other interests were drawing me away.

      This whole COVID mania and the consequence of freedoms being submitted willingly to enable big government and big pharma to take over our lives though is ultimately, a disturbing thing that, as history tells us, never ends well. It seems time to speak out, and then to resist.

      ZenTiger

      October 25, 2021 at 12:21 pm

  7. I think St Jude suffers from ADHD.

    The Veteran

    October 25, 2021 at 8:57 am


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