Thinking about American Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism evolves.

Yet what remains the same through time is the attempt at total control.

Today, control is veiled not overt.

Control weaves its way both totally and surgically into our everyday lives.

Totally, in the master narrative it weaves about “living in a democracy”.

Today, no one lives in a true democracy.

Elections, parties, political personalities are all fraudulent constructions hiding real power.

The media and the entertainment industry are focused on creating a consumerist-nationalist imaginary where shopping and waving the flag are effective daily remedies to ward off any uncomfortable existential doubts.

Both business and the nation still reign in the hearts and minds of millions as the “true Gods”.

The revolution of the “multitude” is far, far away.

Empire, American Empire, is neither setting, fading, or waning. On the contrary, its tentacles stretch throughout every conceivable path and production of biopower.

The expansion of American power that began in earnest after the Great War has continued unabated.

The world is more American now than it has ever been.

Surgically, America through its unrivaled mastery of technology, organization, and capital can pick and choose the actors and actions it wills to manipulate or eliminate.

American global networks of surveillance and suppression have grown and deepened. The threat of world revolution and terror are convenient stories to both mobilize and mesmerize the multitude.

A Hitler and/or a Bin-Laden will always conveniently appear when needed.

Consumption, in all its forms, is the only ideology and it is highly effective since it is based on basic biological processes. The pleasure centers of the brain have lent themselves to the construction of a life of bodily gratification. Thus the ideological celebration of the body has become the new ideological prison of the mind. Nietzsche’s “last man” is the middling subject of our present day totalitarianism.

The majority live their lives dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure and are of no threat or consequence. They are “well adjusted” to the “eternal” run of things. Those who are less so, can be easily handled with marginalization, demonization, psychiatry, and if all else fails, surreptitious elimination.

What are the ultimate goals of power? Its naked reproduction. Power is its own justification. The members may change, but the goal of power’s eternal maintenance remains the same.

Yes, we are allowed to talk, read, go to church, temple, or mosque and even demonstrate but any true chance at deviation from the total control of a society blinded by physical bliss and intoxicated by triumphant and progressivist narratives is precluded from the beginning.

Yet, in the end, change will come. But it will be a change that will serve the interests of those for whom total power is the ultimate aim. The world’s inherent fluidity will run and be directed through their rigid hands.


Dan Corjescu teaches at the University of Tübingen’s TRACS program.