Re: [xmca] Totalitarianism as a Totalizing Construct

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Wed Apr 11 2007 - 17:19:09 PDT

For an interesting book on Science in the USSR that covers the Stalinist
period, I highly recommend Loren Graham's work. It ranges very widely
across the sciences including physics, biology, and even psychology.

Fascinating discussion of the polysemy of totalitarianism.


On 4/11/07, David Kellogg <> wrote:
> 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 18:21 PDT 2007

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