The veneer of democratic process has grown so thin as to become a form of sinister theater, as if we were acting out time-honored scripts from Greek tragedies that each generation of actors memorizes and mouths but fails to understand. As Aristotle predicted inPolitics (his classic work on government), democracies degenerate into oligarchies, and oligarchies into tyrannies. In my country we are now experiencing incremental stages of this process—”democracy” manipulated to undermine democracy. The “same-sex marriage” law and its companion piece, the new “hate crime” law, are only the latest components in a much larger and ongoing project, which is the total re-engineering of society. When the moral foundation of a nation crumbles, anything then becomes possible.
The word totalitarianism usually generates impressions of dictatorial systems which crush civic freedoms and negate the humanity of their subjects in an effort to achieve complete control. Images of barbed wire, jack-boots and thought-control are conjured up in our minds. 20th century literature has given us some powerful works of fiction which suggest a variety of possible totalitarian futures: one thinks immediately of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. Common to these dystopias (utopias which have collapsed into tyranny) is the absolutizing of the power of the State, or systems controlled by the State.
Totalitarianism invariably strives to do away with genuine absolutes and to establish false absolutes in their place. Genuine absolutes are fundamental, ultimate, unqualified truths, independent of the ebb and flow of cultures, fashions, myths and prejudices.