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Category: Hannah Arendt

Zero-sum and not a game

“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.” – Hannah Arendt (interviewed by Roger Errera in The New York Review of Books)

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We’ll even take a cheetoh benito

“Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what you have. The second step is the notion: ‘Things must change—no matter how, Anything is better than what we have.’ Totalitarian rulers organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it. . . . Totalitarianism appeals to the very dangerous emotional needs of people who live in complete isolation and in fear of one another.” – Hannah Arendt (interviewed by Roger Errera in The New York Review of Books)

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