Monday, January 2, 2012

Totalitarianism extends a promise of plenitude, of a harmonious life and of happiness. While it is true that the promise is not kept, it remains nevertheless, and we can always tell ourselves that next time it will be fulfilled and we will be saved. Liberal democracy does not extend the same sort of promise; it is only committed to allowing everyone to seek their own measure of happiness, harmony, and plenitude. In the best of circumstances, it insures the contentment of its citizens, their participation in the direction of public life, and justice in their relations with one another and with the State; it in no way promises salvation. Autonomy corresponds to the right to search for oneself, not to the certainty of finding. (Todorov, Tzevetan, “Totalitarianism: Between Religion and Science” in The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism ed. F. Flagg Taylor IV, (Wilmington, Del.; ISI Books, 2011) pg. 602.)

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