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The Psychology of Totalitarianism

Throughout the COVID crisis, Big Pharma and the mass media, aided and abetted by opportunistic and corrupt politicians, vaccine profiteers, and health officials, have indulged in what can only be described as organized fear-mongering, spreading mass panic, mass psychosis, and hatred among a critical mass of the body politic already suffering from social isolation, free-floating anxiety, and pent-up anger. This psychological plague, a fundamental ingredient in the onset of totalitarian rule, has been dubbed “Mass Formation” by noted Belgian psychologist Mattias Desmet.

Desmet writes:

“[A] new totalitarianism is emerging in our society. Not a communist or fascist totalitarianism but a technocratic totalitarianism. A kind of totalitarianism that is not led by ‘a gang leader’ such as Stalin or Hitler but by dull bureaucrats and technocrats. As always, a certain part of the population will resist and won’t fall prey to the mass formation. If this part of the population makes the right choices, it will ultimately be victorious. If it makes the wrong choices, it will perish…

The coronavirus crisis did not come out of the blue. It fits into a series of increasingly desperate and self-destructive societal responses to objects of fear: terrorists, global warming, coronavirus. Whenever a new object of fear arises in society, there is only one response: increased control. Meanwhile, human beings can only tolerate a certain amount of control. Coercive control leads to fear and fear leads to more coercive control. In this way, society falls victim to a vicious cycle that leads inevitably to totalitarianism (i.e., extreme government control) and ends in the radical destruction of both the psychological and physical integrity of human beings.

We have to consider the current fear and psychological discomfort to be a problem in itself, a problem that cannot be reduced to a virus or any other ‘object of threat.’ Our fear originates on a completely different level—that of the failure of the Grand Narrative of our society. This is the narrative of mechanistic science, in which man is reduced to a biological organism. A narrative that ignores the psychological, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of human beings and thereby has a devastating effect at the level of human relationships. 

Something in this narrative causes man to become isolated from his fellow man, and from nature. Something in it causes man to stop resonating with the world around him. Something in it turns human beings into atomized subjects. It is precisely this atomized subject that, according to Hannah Arendt, is the elementary building block of the totalitarian state…”

Learn more: The Psychology of Totalitarianism