Notes On: “The Origins of Totalitarianism”

“…every race is a separate, complete whole” was invented by men who needed ideological definitions of national unity as a substitute for political nationhood. It was a frustrated nationalism that led to Arndt’s statement that Germans—who apparently were the last to develop an organic unity—had the luck to be of pure, unmixed stock, a “genuine people.”

Excerpt From
The Origins of Totalitarianism
Hannah Arendt
This material may be protected by copyright.

This development of a ‘genuine people’ is that which leads now to the ideal of “Americanism”, or questions like “are you a real American?”. This notion of there being a ‘genuine people’ is a toxic one. It has, within a liberal, and heterogeneous, society a clear means to divide a body politic. The use of “If you do not support Trump you are not a real American”, or any other derivation of that statement, weaponizes what is an ill defined, or easily manipulated, term. What it means to be a member of the ‘genuine people’ can too easily be use to both unify, and divide, a people from itself. Authoritarian governments do this all the time to alienate the body politic so as to manipulate it by creating a war not just between the body and the sovereign, but between the body itself. Questions of race, gender, economic status, citizen or immigrant, these are all just a few items that can be used to alienate, or other, those that are undesirable from the ‘genuine people’.

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