Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Structure Designed to Implode

TCS Daily has an article entitled "Why Perfect Totalitarianism is Impossible" in which the author reflects on how totalitarian regimes will never be perfect and will always be subject to dissent and opposition from the human spirit. While this is the main thrust of the article, I think the author touches on another point equally important: totalitarian regimes will always suffer and be imperfect not only because of the human factor in opposing them but also because of the human factor supporting them.

Take the example used in the article:

"Gerd Wiesler, a captain in the Stasi, East Germany's feared secret police, five years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, ... is ordered to spy on a playwright and his actress girlfriend simply because the minister in charge of culture lusts for the lady and needs an excuse to put the writer away in order to clear the path. Through a tantalizing series of small twists and turns in which what is not said is more important than what is, the plot leads us toward the moral awakening of Wiesler. As he records the details of the playwright's and his girlfriend's lives, the gray, obedient bureaucrat discovers in himself a humane depth to which nothing in his ideological rigidity or in the chilling machinery he efficiently serves seemed to predispose him. This moral awakening is intimate and unassuming, and it leads Wiesler to an act of quiet heroism that will save his intended victim from the fate that the minister wishes for him without leaving traces or claiming credit for his actions later on."
Up until that point, this captain actually believed in the system. What erodes his confidence in the system is the fact that the human elements in it do not live up to the system's standards - which, in turn, means that it has failed.

This phenomenon of the darker side of human nature kicking in and the people in a totalitarian regime succumbing to the temptation to exploit their positions for their own benefit is doubtless a significant reason why the totalitarian system has yet to succeed. The whole structure of the system seems designed to allow for corruption, which will inevitably cause disillusionment in the middle ranks of the regime - the very ranks that form the backbone of the system. Thus, it seems that totalitarianism is a structure designed to implode.


Template Designed by Douglas Bowman - Updated to Beta by: Blogger Team
Modified for 3-Column Layout by Hoctro