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Undertow of Totalism

Orcinus has a great, long post on “Undertow Of Totalism.” He starts with Two Minutes Hate, and goes from there. Read it, and then ask yourself, does your blood boil when someone mentions Ann Coulter? Michael Moore? If it’s one or the other, ask yourself if you’re being played, and stop. Pay no attention. Participate in dialog, not spewing of hate.

If you need something to hate, hate our inaction over genocide in Darfur.

Thank you for your cooperation.

3 comments on "Undertow of Totalism"

  • John Kelsey says:

    The amazing thing is that a political movement built so much on this “totalism” can form even in a very open media market. All that’s required is that there be enough media choices that each person can stay inside his ideological bubble and never be exposed to a really effective argument from another point of view.

  • Adam says:

    I’m reminded of the bit in The Diamond Age where Stephenson expounds on this problem, and says that as you become more and more senior within the hierarchy of the Neo-Victorians, you lose the ability to have your newspaper customized, so that everyone will be getting at least some of the same news provided to them.

  • Harry says:

    In the comments to the post, Billmon asks what is to be done? Totalism doesn’t admit to the possibility of being wrong, whether it’s the success of the Five Year Plan or the New Freedom. It wins the same way trolls shut down blogs, by gloating, irrational hectoring.
    In a formal, representative democracy, elected officials see no percentage in standing for much on which an enemy could pin an accusation. Moderation drifts towards accomodating the noisiest and most violent. Most politicians, in spite of all the dog and pony rhetoric, are fairly moderate, “go along to get along” types. The only thing I can see to do is pick the most vulnerable, the ones whose grip on office is the most tenuous, and make it clear that unless they consistently reject the legislation of totalism, you will do your best to throw the election to whomever is opposing them, regardless of party.
    You needn’t mean it. It can be a bluff. Petitions, faxing campaigns and protests haven’t done much recently. I can’t see anything else that might work.

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