A totalitarian regime is a government in which every aspect is controlled. The everyday lives of the citizens are controlled, dictated usually by oppression or fear, usually both. However, how is it that in the modern world we still have totalitarian regimes? These regimes are usually supported by the people, or at the very least not opposed by them. Both Gesh and Pharr & Clark explain the reasons why. These governments usually rise out of instability. They exercise the use of propaganda and extreme oppression. First, they keep the citizens ignorant to the outside world, to something different and better, art and education, which are tools against these types of government. Also, they indoctrinate a paradigm; a way of thinking that will maintain the citizens in line. Moreover, the second most important tool on a totalitarian is politics of scarcity. They control resources and supply, starve their people, dehumanize them to the point in which they are too occupied fending for themselves and, more importantly, the oppressed have been divided.


As explained by Pharr & Clark, a totalitarian government in one in which antidemocratic actions are taken, the politics and economics of the nation are ruled by an elite, mass media is completely controlled by this elite, military forces and weapons are present within the nation and policy of violence and terror against suspected subversives is implemented.


A totalitarian regime usually comprises the following features:

  • “Dissent is betrayal,” no freedom of speech, and indication of opposition is severally punished
  • Taking advantage of the natural fears of the people (by the government) to maintain the regime
  • Popular elitism and extreme oppression/ control of submissive citizens.
  • Extreme regulations and inequality
  • Dehumanization, torture and crimes against humanity
  • People are disposable in order to maintain leadership
  • “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”
  • Censored/ controlled information
  • Scarcity of resources, arts and information (education)
  • No civil liberty, human freedom or culture
  • Government harassment
  • Civil privacy ignored

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