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Authoritarian And Totalitarian Political Systems

Two forms of government which are completely different to what we are used to in the western world are authoritarian and totalitarian systems. While the two are quite similar, there are a few distinctions we can make between them. This essay will explain the aspects of both political systems and also discuss the opposite values that we hold dear to our own government. At the end, we will note how important it is to hold onto these values—as they can so easily be taken for granted.

Authoritarian systems

A country where there is one person or one small group of people at the top is called an authoritarian system. This is like an empire where a family rules in luxury, riches and comfort while dictating to everyone else how they should live. We look to the past and see this type of system in the days of the Roman Empire, the Babylonian Kingdom, and even as far back as the Ancient Egyptians. What is notable about such a system is that those on the top have absolutely no obligation to everyone else. They are simply there to rule the people without their authority being questioned.

Totalitarian systems

A totalitarian system is similar to the above, but is more fitting to modern times. The government wants to be involved in every aspect of the people’s lives and will not hesitate to spy on the people to root out traitors or breakers of the law. It is a society where freedom has been sacrificed for security and basically says that people are not able to look after themselves. Systems such as this often require complete control of a nation’s military force and technological advancements to be successful.

The opposite of these systems

We live in a system where our rights are slowly moving towards these systems, but it is (for now) still a far cry from either of them. We must appreciate rights such as the right to bear arms, the right to freedom of speech, and the right to religion of choice; or they may be taken away from us.

A government that has a big brother complex cannot be trusted by the people—and does itself not trust the people. We must also be careful that we do not slowly slip back into such a system, since it was from such systems that democracy was eventually formed to counteract totalitarianism and authoritarianism.


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