Arendt and QAnon

How Origins of Totalitarianism Explains Right-Wing Extremism & Conspiracy Thinking Today

Image by Wesley Tingey.

Although she wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt had Marjorie Taylor Greene’s, QAnon’s, and most of the Republican Party’s number, down to almost the last decimal point. Nowhere else will one find a more chilling anticipation and explanation of Trumpism’s deranged conspiracy-mongering and startling resilience.

Since 2016, it’s been obvious that Trump himself is a purveyor of conspiracy theories, notably about a “deep state” conspiracy (which about 40% of Americans now believe) and 2020 election fraud. Republicans’ steadfast, sycophantic support for Trump, coupled with their recent decision to neither censure Taylor Greene nor strip her of her committee posts, their failure to vote to convict Trump in the Senate during the recent impeachment trial, and an ongoing, farcical “election fraud” investigation in Arizona authorized by state Republicans, confirm that they have morphed into a far-right party with a solid authoritarian base, one reminiscent of European extremist parties.

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Scott Remer has published in venues such as In These Times, Africa Is a Country, Common Dreams, OpenDemocracy, Philosophy Now, Philosophical Salon, and International Affairs.

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