The Dangers of Totalitarian Planning, Past and Present

“In the atmosphere of political divisiveness that exists in the land today, those on different sides of the political debate use the words “democracy” and “freedom”. But the words are not always clear in the meanings being assigned. Sometimes clarity is better attained when looked at during a time when freedom was threatened by its extreme opposite, such as the totalitarian dangers of the 1930s.

Totalitarianism meant the complete subjugation of the individual to the State in every aspect and corner of life: personal affairs, economic activities, and social relationships. Fear and force were the watchwords of life in the total collectivist state, whether in its communist, fascist or Nazi forms.

Friends of freedom back then in the 1930s, understood and explained that liberty means the rights, sanctity and respect for the individual human being in all parts of human existence, without compromise or hesitation, or the door is open to the oppression of human autonomous existence. Democracy has neither meaning nor value if it is not a means to secure and protect those individual rights, rather than a rhetorical tool for tyrants to justify their dictatorships or as majoritarian tyranny over minorities of individuals in society.

If we keep this in mind, we better appreciate that there is a new totalitarian tribalism in the form, today, of identity politics that reduces the individual to a social class, or a racial or gender category meant to determine the fate and future of people. And that government fiscal policies and regulatory interventions are all forms of piecemeal and overlapping government plans imposed on the members of the society, which confine people to the dictates and demands of the social engineers who wish to direct everyone’s actions into the patterns they, the interventionist planners, consider best through the coercive power of the State.”

Richard Ebeling