Hitchens on totalitarianism

published Apr 25, 2008, last modified Jun 26, 2013

I'm eating this fantastic book God is not great by Christopher Hitchens. Besides being fairly easy and interesting to read, it's a resource and knowledge mine... and I'd like to share a key insight that the book delivers:

In order to be a part of the totalitarian mind-set, it is not necessary to wear a uniform or carry a club or a whip. It is only necessary to wish for your own subjection, and to delight in the subjection of others. What is a totalitarian system if not one where the abject glorification of the perfect leader is matched by the surrender of all privacy and individuality, especially in matters sexual, and in denunciation and punishment—"for their own good"—of those who transgress? The sexual element is probably decisive, in that the dullest mind can grasp what Nathaniel Hawthorne captured in The Scarlet Letter: the deep connection between repression and perversion.

For your own good. When you hear that phrase, you would do wise to shiver and run, as fast as you can. Because, otherwise, you might even get to hear the erections of those who would love nothing more than to see you suffer the same pain they went through.