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Continuing from part one on “On the Nature of Totalitarianism” and On the Origins of Totalitarianism, ch. 13 (both from around 1953).
In this preview, we further discuss the perverse logic of totalitarianism, how according to Arendt the ideology driving it becomes self-sustaining, generating ever-new enemies. Seth points out how in Brave New World, we see eugenics used as a means to try to prevent the will to rebel that is the ever-present threat to a totalitarian regime.
In the full episode, we talk more about how Brave New World as opposed to 1984 might serve as a corrective to some of Arendt’s observations: How the broader existential phenomenon that makes us open to totalitarian regimes might also be motivating our amusing ourselves to death. We also, of course, get into modern politics and whether Arendt’s descriptions have any direct relevance for critiquing Q-Anon or critical race theory or anything else. (Hint: not really.)