The Reason For The Unification of All People and Individual Identity

Further, Arendt claims that the state is above the individual, so the importance is the state itself. Though the regime will try and convince the people, for example, of unity and togetherness, but will not do as the preach-thus- creating a false sense of reality. This is how the state become the cause in which all people ‘belong’ and individual identities to become unified. To explore how totalitarian regimes are defined by the use of terror, Arendt claims that totalitarian terror is used without careful judgement; which is directed at those who are for and against the regime(there is no distinction between the two group of people).

The ultimate goal is to force out any form of deviance. Arendt argues that terror is not a means to an end in totalitarianism regimes, but an end in itself(Melayna). To Arendt, terror ‘eliminates individuals for the sake of the species, sacrifices the ‘parts’ for the sake of the whole…’ .

As she notes, most of these regimes serve the same purpose, it is all encompassing.

Arendt states that totalitarian regimes used alleged laws of history and nature to justify terror. So to Arendt, the ideologies are appealing because it is able to present a clear idea that insures protection from danger. Terror binds people together and disrupts individualism, destroying the people’s freedom. Arendt claims that “just as positive laws in constitutional government are needed to translate and realize the immutable ius naturale or the eternal commandments of gods or sempiternal customs and traditions of history, so terror is needed to raise to translate into living reality, the law of movement of History or Nature.

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” This quote illuminates, for example, after some societal disasters like the Great Depression, people seemed to favor certain ways of thinking, in which direction society should go. This is because these regimes were able to effectively obscure the distinction between reality and what is not real with propaganda, and so the success of totalitarianism seemed real to most people and attainable.

No matter the harshness or scrutiny of the government, these ideologies granted individuals a sense of identity to those who have never had one or had lost their sense of identity of attachment to status or family. Because we are human beings we seek an identity, one that can be found by following the masses of people; because there is power in numbers. To Arendt these totalitarian leaders take this ideology they believe to be true and present it as a stringent logicality to their followers, with answers to every question. The ideology is the logic behind the idea, as Arendt asserts, “body of statements about something that ‘is’ but the unfolding of a process which is in constant change.’ Their followers don’t necessarily have to believe in the ideology, but rather they are a follower of this totalitarian logicality, that seems to make sense. The followers do believe in at least some aspects of the ideology.

These ideologies become a whole historical explanation and will seem to reveal the uncertainties of the future. What Arendt is saying is that a tactic of totalitarian regimes is to apply a ‘stringent logicality’ to their ideology — this logicality aims to push/persuade people to commit atrocities. So the regime wants to say to its followers, for example, ‘If you already believe that some races are superior and others inferior, then you must also endorse our attempts to exterminate those who are inferior’(Pinkard Office Hours). In other words, the regime is saying that once you’re on board with the ideology, we’re going to show that you also have to be committed to lots of other things, including committing atrocities. Human beings who are thrown into this process of Nature or History for the sake of accelerating the movement in question become those committing the atrocities or become the victims of its inherent law, as stated previously, it doesn’t matter if you are for or against the regime.

The connection between ideology and terror is to Arendt needed, “in order to make the world consistent and keep it that way; to dominate human beings to the point where they lose, with their spontaneity, the specifically human unpredictability of thought and action”. Based on this law, these may be the people who eliminate the ‘unfit races and individuals’, but could also be those who, for those exact reasons, must themselves be eliminated(Pinkard Lecture). And so, instead of actions, a totalitarian rule needs a means to make individual of its state both the cause and the victim (Melayna). This is the ideology, the two-side role of individuals is the principle of action. Arendt’s account definitely illuminates the struggles we face today, like the Trump regime we currently face. For example, Trump supporters are very much like the mass of people that Arendt describes; these masses of people that a dictator requires. Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism and what we struggle with today, like Islamophobia, draws many similarities.

Although many would argue it is not totalitarianism in its entirely, I think it reasonable to suggest that this is because we live in a place where there is political efficacy can be the reason of why this administration can separate itself from totalitarianism, this is because here, we have autonomy and we are encouraged to be individuals. But, that is not to say that Arendt has illuminated aspects of the Trump administration, for example. I think this regime is still dangerous because the Trump regime definitely has ‘elements of totalitarianism’. Arendt would say that one of the core elements of totalism is a regime based on a movement; and this movement does not chase any specific purpose. Much like Trump, his regime is about the mobilization of people and not the purpose of any aim in particular. This creates danger because he is constantly changing and chasing to push the boundaries.

Whenever he achieves something unimaginable, he pushes the boundaries to keep the excitement and shocking transgression of his actions. I would think that Arendt would say that this is an attractive tactic to the modern totalitarian regimes. Much like how some regimes give people identity, like mentioned before, this regime is similar; in that, it gives people a sense of purpose. Arendt tries to follow the true origin of totalitarianism, which is what people feel today like the sense of abandonment. She lived in a world where there was a lack of things that gave meaning to the lives of people. This makes life hard and means we are constantly seeking things that make this suffering have meaning. Arendt thinks this loss drives us to embrace movements like Trumps, it gives us meaning and a purpose.

So even if we are being lied to, we prefer this would because it means we are holding onto a movement that gives us a purpose. This can further explain how Arendt illuminates Trump’s regime and he lies to people, changes his mind, and creates a unrealistic world based on the reality of many peoples lives. This shows how his regime is: based on lies, is a movement that gives people purpose, aims to have ultimate control over all aspect of people lives, and makes him the power figure because he is the only one who can explain this reality he is creating. Making him the only one who can ‘guide people through these times’. People who rather follow him and his guidance through these ‘times’ instead of trying to deal with reality.

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The Reason For The Unification of All People and Individual Identity. (2021, Dec 29). Retrieved from

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