totalitarianism


to·tal·i·tar·i·an·ism

noun \(ˌ)tō-ˌta-lə-ˈter-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of TOTALITARIANISM

1
:  centralized control by an autocratic authority
2
:  the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority

Examples of TOTALITARIANISM

  1. <in times of crisis, when a nation's people are frightened, there are often calls for totalitarianism>

First Known Use of TOTALITARIANISM

1926

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism

totalitarianism

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Form of government that subordinates all aspects of its citizens' lives to the authority of the state, with a single charismatic leader as the ultimate authority. The term was coined in the early 1920s by Benito Mussolini, but totalitarianism has existed throughout history throughout the world (e.g., Qin dynasty China). It is distinguished from dictatorship and authoritarianism by its supplanting of all political institutions and all old legal and social traditions with new ones to meet the state's needs, which are usually highly focused. Large-scale, organized violence may be legitimized. The police operate without the constraint of laws and regulations. Where pursuit of the state's goal is the only ideological foundation for such a government, achievement of the goal can never be acknowledged. Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) is the standard work on the subject.

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