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When an unattentive ear can be cut off for wanton breach of discipline!

With reference to what I wrote yesterday, some readers have asked me to explain how totalitarianism is different from authoritarianism.
I think such an explanation is necessary too.
Totalitarianism is often either combined or confused with notions such as authoritarianism or dictatorship. The confusion arises because there tends to be empirical connection between them. Societies that are authoritarian or dictatorial are often totalitarian also. But not always so. There is no compulsory connection. Pakistan has been drawn into authoritarian and dictatorial yoke altogether four times, yet totalitarianism had been conspicuous by its absence till the MQM took control of Karachi. Even now totalitarianism has yet to be in full command as was proved on the 12th of May 2007. So fierce was people’s defiance of totalitarian hubris, that those who had chosen this occasion to flex their muscles were forced quickly to retreat into an apologetic and defensive mould.
To call a society totalitarian means that the leaders control every aspect of private and social life in the society, as well as have so extensive a political power that virtually no liberty or autonomy in decision-making is left to individuals outside the strict command-and-control system.
To understand the meanings of totalitarianism, one has only to visualize a disciplined assembly of children, men and women, sitting in expectant awe and obedience for hours and hours to listen to the unintelligible rants of a leader addressing them on telephone from across thousands and thousands of miles of water and land.
Any unattentive ear can easily be cut off by the chiefs of a vigilant monitoring system.
That is totalitarianism. Don’t we have to defy any attempted marriage of totalitarian agenda with authoritarian muscles?

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