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Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what you have. The second step is the notion: “Things must change—no matter how, Anything is better than what we have.” Totalitarian rulers organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it. They were told before, thou shalt not kill; and they didn’t kill. Now they are told, thou shalt kill; and although they think it’s very difficult to kill, they do it because it's now part of the code of behavior. They learn whom to kill and how to kill and how to do it together. This is the much talked about Gleichschaltung—the coordination process. You are coordinated not with the powers that be, but with your neighbor—coordinated with the majority. But instead of communicating with the other you are now glued to him. And you feel of course marvelous. Totalitarianism appeals to the very dangerous emotional needs of people who live in complete isolation and in fear of one another.

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Hannah Arendt: From an Interview' Comments made in 1974 during an interview with the French writer Roger Errera and published in October 26, 1978 issue of The NewYork Review of Books Interview. 1978

Submitted by Normando on August 02, 2019

Hannah Arendt

United States historian and political philosopher (born in Germany) (1906-1975)

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