Tag: totalitarianism

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: Live Not By Lies

 

To grasp the threat of totalitarianism, it’s important to understand the difference between it and simple authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is what you have when the state monopolizes political control. That is mere dictatorship – bad, certainly, but totalitarianism is much worse. According to Hannah Arendt… a totalitarian society is one in which an ideology seeks to displace all prior traditions and institutions, with the goal of bringing all aspects of society under control of that ideology. A totalitarian state is one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality. Truth is whatever the rulers decide it is. As Arendt has written, wherever totalitarianism has ruled, “[I]t has begun to destroy the essence of man.”⁠ (pages 8-9)

Many have fought and endured Hard Totalitarianism – repression at the end of a rifle – and while we may have (for now) seen the back of such regimes, Rod Dreher warns, in his new book Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents, that we are facing a new form of totalitarian repression. This new form, he warns, will not (for now) come at the ends of rifle barrels and the points of bayonets, nor will it come all at once. It will come gradually, and it will attempt to corral us not with overt force, nor even fully from our government, but through the mounting pressures, nudges, and unseen pushes and constraints of the very technologies we rely on and willingly install in everything in our lives. Dreher predicts the emergence of a Soft Totalitarianism which will resemble the Social Credit System of the People’s Republic of China, created by an alliance of ideological interests from the technology, information, and banking industries. This new totalitarianism will be radically hostile to any religion, creed, or understanding of the world that conflicts with its own, and especially towards Christianity, which it slanders as repressive and “hateful”, especially on matters of sex and race. How can we recognize it? Can we fight it? How do we survive and endure it without compromising? Rod has much to say.

Rod Dreher is, by his own frequent admission, something of an odd duck in American conservatism. His first book, Crunchy Cons, was about people very like himself – the heterodox conservatives who find themselves on the political right, usually for deep-seated social concerns (religion, family, tradition, anti-corporatism), but who also find that these core values are ignored, or else clash with other conservative orthodoxies on matters like free markets or foreign policy. Dreher is also especially known for being one the leading reporters to blow open the sexual abuse scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, and unearth how deeply that rot actually ran – the integrity of the Christian faith is important to Dreher. His prior book, The Benedict Option, was a statement to Christians that they have lost the culture war and need to rebuild the foundations of faith and society, with instructions on how to begin this process through intentional community formation – as such it is like a book warning on how to prepare for a cultural tornado, and clean up afterward. Live Not By Lies can be therefore likened to a warning on what cultural tornado will do, how it will act, what it will try to destroy, and how to survive during it with one’s soul intact.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out. https://t.co/QlfC5CUMQD — David Horowitz (@horowitz39) February 2, 2020   Preview Open

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Their Dream, Our Nightmare

 

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) … The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J. R. R. Tolkien, in a letter to his son Christopher Tolkien (29 November 1943)

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus and Human Nature

 

For a few weeks, we in the coronavirus-stricken parts of the world have been living under “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders. The only conceivable purpose of such orders is to keep people from congregating and spreading the disease. But I can leave my house while also avoiding human contact — a truth evidently lost on Italian authorities, who’ve been punishing the criminal scum of their society for engaging in the recklessly dangerous activity of jogging with their dogs; or on the social-media malcontents who believe that carping at their neighbors is 2020’s equivalent of storming the Normandy beaches.

In Britain, police shamed hikers for daring to wander the wilderness in solitude. Do the moorlands have a preexisting condition? Are birds and butterflies at risk of dying from coronavirus-induced respiratory failure? Britain’s own lockdown law allows residents out of their houses for only “one form of exercise” per day. Does combination exercise cause coronavirus to spring up out of nowhere, like maggots spontaneously generating in a hunk of rotting meat? Who cares whether Simon and Bertha spend their entire day camping in the countryside?

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Here are my reflections on Sir Roger, published today in The Bulwark. They focus on his remarkable work and legacy in Central Europe. Preview Open

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: The Family and the New Totalitarianism

 

I just finished the book, The Family and the New Totalitarianism (2019) by Michael D. O’Brien. The book was originally published 24 years ago as a compilation of various articles and speeches by the author, as a writer, editor, and speaker. As a father of six, he and his friends’ challenges were with the rapidly changing Canadian school system, as they began to incorporate more controversial teachings, such as the introduction of alternative lifestyles and sexual conduct to younger and younger children.

Political and social changes were influencing the content beyond the acceptable norms that most parents would consider appropriate, but they had little say over their children’s education. When they met with school authorities, they were met with indifference, and in some cases, hostility. This forced the O’Briens, as well as some of their friends, into homeschooling.

O’Brien however, cites many interesting references that go back decades, predicting the morally bankrupt, irresponsible culture we find ourselves in today. For example:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Critic Series #24: Cold War

 

Back to Pawel Pawlikowski: @FlaggTaylor and I have a companion piece to Ida Cold War, a romantic tragedy, which features a couple escaping from and then returning to the Iron Curtain. Whereas Ida is about divine love, this is merely human love. In both cases, the Polish past and totalitarianism are the most important concerns of the story. A deeply affecting movie about national memory and personal memory with special attention to what art and love can and cannot do. A remarkable performance by Joanna Kulig. The beautiful black-and-white cinematography of Lukasz Zal (which earned him an Oscar nomination), as well as heartbreaking Polish folk songs.The movie won the Palme d’Or in Cannes as well as the director prize — it was nominated for three big Oscars, too.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Demise of Moral Relativism – and Its Consequences

 

The claims of moral relativism have been the bane of modern society as it has risen in popularity. Its origins started centuries ago, but as Progressivism has continued to dominate the Democrat party, it has paradoxically forecast its own death — and deadly consequences for American society. How has that happened and where will it lead us?

So that we’re all on the same page, let me provide a definition of moral relativism. Here’s one:

Moral relativism has steadily been accepted as the primary moral philosophy of modern society, a culture that was previously governed by a ‘Judeo-Christian’ view of morality. While these ‘Judeo-Christian’ standards continue to be the foundation for civil law, most people hold to the concept that right or wrong are not absolutes, but can be determined by each individual. Morals and ethics can be altered from one situation, person, or circumstance to the next. Essentially, moral relativism says that anything goes, because life is ultimately without meaning. Words like “ought” and “should” are rendered meaningless. In this way, moral relativism makes the claim that it is morally neutral.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Woke’ Activism Is a Dangerous Religion

 

So argues a new book by Daniel J. Mahoney, reviewed currently in City Journal by Gerald J. Russello. Philosophers have been seeking to replace the strictures of both religious faith and politics since the Enlightenment, and it seems that they have nearly achieved their project at last. The new faith does not have a formal name as yet, but several observers have described it as “Humanitarianism.”

Humanitarianism is itself a religion, and as Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule has argued, modern secularism has its own eschatology (the eternal overcoming of “hatred”), its own sacraments and holidays, and various prohibitions and commandments, usually centered around specific groups. Coupled with the rise of various would-be pagan religions and the cult of the self, these movements represent a retreat from rational reflection on politics.

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 “Unity, the Pope insisted, is built in this walking together, and it’s a “grace” that has to be asked for. It’s for this reason that he repeats: “every form of proselytism among Christians is sinful. The Church never grows from proselytism but ‘by attraction,’ as Benedict XVI wrote.” “Proselytism among Christians, therefore, in itself, is […]

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The recent Jewish holiday of Purim signified the defeat of Haman’s plot to massacre the Jews in The Book of Esther. Christians are now observing a holy period called Lent, a remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, tempted by Satan and represents a time of prayer, self-examination and reflection. The Holy Season of […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Vaclav Benda and The Long Night of the Watchman

 
Me, Kamila Bendova, and Martin Palous (a close ally of both Benda and Havel and former Ambassador to the United States).

I’m the editor of a recently published edition of the essays of Vaclav Benda called The Long Night of the Watchman. Benda, who died in 1999, was a central figure in the Charter 77 movement in the former Czechoslovakia. I met his wife, Kamila Bendova, on my first trip to interview former dissidents back in 2011 and wrote about that encounter right here on Ricochet.

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Clinical psychologist and student of philosophy, theology, existentialism and Marxist totalitarianism, Dr. Jordan Peterson warned that the hammer from the NeoMarxist Postmodernists would soon come down on Americans in the form of legislation compelling them to use fabricated gender pronouns (see the videos below). Preview Open

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This year marks the 75th anniversary of Arthur Koestler’s great novel Darkness at Noon. Preview Open

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Czechoslovak Underground Church (II)

 

I’m back in Prague and am finally getting around to fulfilling my promise to keep writing about religion in the Czech lands under communism. In my first post, I mentioned the extreme repression the Catholic church suffered under communism in the former Czechoslovakia and the ways the church and its clerics sought to maintain a vibrant faith community for lay people. Many formerly “official” priests risked imprisonment by participating in religious education and similar activities in private homes. Many had served terms in the labor camps adjacent to uranium mines in the 1950s. This camp, called Vojna, is the site of a memorial today.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. How Do Dictatorships Fall?

 

Asked about Obama’s foreign policy achievements, his defenders always trot out Cuba as a historic diplomatic success. In their minds, the re-establishment of relations with that small, impoverished, long-suffering dictatorship falls somewhere between Commodore Perry’s breaking down the door to Japan in 1853 and Nixon’s China gambit on the Richter scale of statesmanship.

The mantra of our Cuba policy objectives is “a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy.” According to our State Department:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Unconstitutional CA Law Forces Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

 

wide-b0827d5e12470eadc96938dbce042ab84879dfeb-s900-c85Imagine a state law that forced Weight Watchers to direct its health-conscious clients to locations where they’d be hard-sold piles of discount bacon. Delicious as Baconalia sounds to me and maybe you, what kind of government would threaten a weight-loss center for merely not promoting the very thing (weight gain) it was created to prevent?

Well, such a state government did pass such a law. And Alliance Defending Freedom is in federal court challenging it. ADF filed a complaint in federal court in October 2015 against the state of California for passing an unconstitutional law that forces pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion. The state law requires licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to direct their patients and clients to state programs that offer free or discounted abortions. The pro-life centers, under the law, even have to give out the phone number for the abortion program!

And the case has generated serious national interest.

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I am beginning to wonder if “totalitarianism” is a misnomer. In the countries we have historically labeled as “totalitarian,” did the “total” number of people in that country receive harm? Did any receive benefits/favors/special treatment, or were any unharmed? I’m thinking of that quote by Martin Niemöller: Preview Open

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I don’t often talk about my organization, but given what we were discussing on Merina’s post I would like to share something important. I wanted to post this there as a comment but ran out of room. The gal I work for, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, believes that the Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology. […]

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