Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism

Topics: Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Government Pages: 2 (498 words) Published: March 28, 2006
Two forms of government that have shaped the way our world is today is authoritarianism and totalitarianism. These two forms of government are alike and different in many ways. The following essay will describe, contrast, and compare authoritarianism and totalitarianism. The term authoritarianism is used to describe a government which implements strong and sometimes domineering measures against the population without the consent of the population. In an authoritarian state, citizens are subject to governmental authority in many aspects of their lives. Authoritarianism often begins with the government presuming that they know what is right or wrong for the country. The government then enforces what it thinks is right. The opposing sides are ignored and are usually considered a threat to the best interests of the country. Authoritarianism can exist without any set ideal of common good. This would be when the dictator maintains power more for the privileges that come along with the power rather than the idea that he is doing the right thing. The head of an authoritarian government is usually ruled by an elite group that uses repressive actions to stay in power. Unlike totalitarian regimes, authoritarian governments generally ignore the actions of an individual unless the actions are thought to be a challenge to the government. Totalitarian governments tend to be revolutionary and want to change the structure of society while authoritarian governments tend to be conservative. Authoritarian governments tend to give a great deal of power to law enforcement agencies. The concept of totalitarianism is a term used to summarize the characteristics of groups that make entire populations be in support of the state and its goals. Totalitarian regimes are more repressive of pluralism and political rights than authoritarian ones. Under a totalitarian regime, the government controls nearly every aspect of the individual's life. Totalitarian governments do not tolerate...
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