[xmca] Totalitarianism as a Totalizing Construct

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 16:41:58 PDT

Dear David (Preiss):
  Thanks for your note from busy AERA. Hope you are staying out of the Chicago wind!
  I went to school in "anti-totalitarian" Chicago when it was a training ground for "los chicago boys", the men who served as quartermasters for General Pinochet. So I guess I don't find the word "totalitarian" particularly helpful, except possibly as a description of how the private sector has laid its clammy hand on every aspect of public life under capitalism or the way in which North Americans assume that their America is America and the way that Westerners assume that their world is the whole world.
  As a young adult I lived through the "anti-spiritual pollution campaign" and the "campaign against bourgeois liberalization" and of course the movement which is incorrectly described by the totalitarian media in the West as the "Tiananmen Square Democracy movement" (because that is what Western TV screens showed). My wife grew up during the Cultural Revolution (and was a militant participant at age seven). It was not a different world; it was the same one, and people made decisions (including life and death decisions) in much the same way as you do.
  I also think that the USSR, even under Stalin, can hardly be considered a second or third rate science power (they led the world in space, for example, and were a very close second in atomic energy). When my father visited the USSR in the early sixties, he was astonished to discover that the Russian physicists had read all of his work, and highly embarrassed to admit that he had read none of theirs, even though theirs was available in English and his was not available in Russian. This shouldn't have been so astonishing, given the totalitarian nature of Western intellectual life.
  David (Kellogg)

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Received on Wed Apr 11 17:44 PDT 2007

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