Make Predictions Come True

arendt1“Scientism” in politics still presupposes that human welfare is its object, a concept which is utterly alien to totalitarianism. It is precisely because the utilitarian core of ideologies was taken for granted that the anti-utilitarian behavior of totalitarian governments, their complete indifference to mass interest, has been such a shock.

This introduced into contemporary politics an element of unheard-of unpredictability. Totalitarian propaganda, however….indicated even before totalitarianism could seize power how far the masses had drifted from mere concern with interest.

The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error. The assumption of infallibility, moreover, is based not so much on superior intelligence as on the correct interpretation of the essentially reliable forces in history or nature, forces which neither defeat nor ruin can prove wrong because they are bound to assert themselves in the long run.

Mass leaders in power have one concern which overrules all utilitarian considerations: to make their predictions come true.

— Hannah Arendt. The origins of totalitarianism. 1967

Reading about totalitarianism and fascism is often incredibly apropos to the current conditions in the United States of America. Hannah Arendt is an excellent source of thought and discussion related to this subject.

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