Totalitarianism and Its Roots in Hate and Fear
Guest Column by Ernesto Tinajero
In Hannah Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism,” she looks at the rise of totalitarianism and its effects on humanity. In our contemporary discourse, we have returned to her analysis as we see the darkness of authoritarianism rise. She argues that the root of totalitarianism is hatred and fear, as it seeks to eliminate the other to maintain total control.
By looking at the historical rise of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Arendt argues that the ultimate result of this form of government was the dehumanization of one group who is stripped of their human rights.
In time, all humans in the system will be stripped of their humanity. When we treat others as nothing more than objects to be used for the dominant group’s own purpose, then this dehumanization leads to the killing of innocent people.
The story of Cain and Abel, as I have posted before, as well as Arendt’s analysis of the origin of totalitarianism, serve as a reminder of the power of hate and its potential to lead to violence and death.
The story is about two brothers, Cain and Abel, whose parents, Adam and Eve, had been exiled from the Garden of Eden. In this story, Cain and Abel make a sacrifice to God, but God prefers Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s. This causes Cain to become filled with jealousy and hate, and he ends up killing Abel in a cold blood.
The power of hate leads to the death of the innocent. As the story of Cain and Abel shows us, unchecked hatred has devastating consequences, and we have to make sure such violence does not devour us.
Hannah Arendt’s analysis in her book can be applied to our modern world, as we continue to see the devastating effects of hate. In our current era, we are witnessing the resurgence of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia, all of which are fueled by hatred and intolerance of those who are different from us.
This hatred can manifest in violence, as we have seen in the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. These tragedies are a stark reminder of the potential for unchecked hatred to lead to violence and death.
If we are to prevent such tragedies from occurring, we must be willing to confront our own capacity for hatred and remember the words of Jesus to love our enemies. If we strive to create a society that is based on tolerance and acceptance, we must take the door Jesus gives out of our madness of hate. We must also recognize that unchecked hatred is a destructive force that can lead to the destruction of our fellow humans.
Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the origin of totalitarianism can be applied to our modern world, as we continue to see the devastating effects of hate. In our current era, we are witnessing the resurgence of white supremacy, racism, and xenophobia, all of which are fueled by hatred and intolerance of those who are different from us.
This hatred can manifest in violence, as we have seen in the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. These tragedies are a stark reminder of the potential for unchecked hatred to lead to violence and death.
It is important to remember that hate is a destructive force and should not be taken lightly. Hate can lead to the death of our fellow humans and can have devastating consequences. We must learn from both Arendt’s “Origins of Totalitarianism” and the biblical story of Cain and Abel and strive to combat hate in all its forms.
We must remember that we are all part of one human race and that we should treat each other with respect and understanding. Only then, can we hope to prevent hate from leading to the death of our fellow humans.
Here is the poem based on this post.
Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.