Totalitarianism is a form of government and political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control and regulation over public and private life.
It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism.
In totalitarian states, political power is often held by autocrats, such as dictators and absolute monarchs, who employ all-encompassing campaigns in which propaganda is broadcast by state-controlled mass media in order to control the citizenry.
It remains a useful word but the old 1950s theory was considered to be outdated by the 1980s,and is defunct among scholars.
The proposed concept gained prominent influence in Western anti-communist and McCarthyist political discourse during the Cold War era as a tool to convert pre-World War IIanti-fascism into post-war anti-communism.
As a political ideology in itself, totalitarianism is a distinctly modernist phenomenon, and it has very complex historical roots. Philosopher Karl Popper traced its roots to Plato, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel‘s conception of the state, and the political philosophy of Karl Marx, although Popper’s conception of totalitarianism has been criticized in academia, and remains highly controversial.
Other philosophers and historians such as Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer trace the origin of totalitarian doctrines to the Age of Enlightenment, especially to the anthropocentrist idea that:
“Man has become the master of the world, a master unbound by any links to nature, society, and history.”
In the 20th century, the idea of absolute state power was first developed by Italian Fascists, and concurrently in Germany by a jurist and Nazi academic named Carl Schmitt during the Weimar Republic in the 1920s.
Benito Mussolini, the founder of Italian Fascism, defined fascism as such: “Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”
Schmitt used the term Totalstaat (lit. ’Total state’) in his influential 1927 work titled The Concept of the Political, which described the legal basis of an all-powerful state.
Totalitarian regimes are different from other authoritarian regimes, as the latter denotes a state in which the single power holder, usually an individual dictator, a committee, a military junta, or an otherwise small group of political elites, monopolizes political power.
A totalitarian regime may attempt to control virtually all aspects of social life, including the economy, the education system, arts, science, and the private lives and morals of citizens through the use of an elaborate ideology. It can also mobilize the whole population in pursuit of its goals.
Totalitarian regimes are often characterized by extreme political repression, to a greater extent than those of authoritarian regimes, under an undemocratic government, widespread personality cultism around the person or the group which is in power, absolute control over the economy, large-scale censorship and mass surveillance systems, limited or non-existent freedom of movement (the freedom to leave the country), and the widespread usage of state terrorism.
Other aspects of a totalitarian regime include the extensive use of internment camps, an omnipresent secret police, practices of religious persecution or racism, the imposition of theocratic rule or state atheism, the common use of death penalties and show trials, fraudulent elections (if they took place), the possible possession of weapons of mass destruction, a potential for state-sponsored mass murders and genocides, and the possibility of engaging in a war, or colonialism against other countries, which is often followed by annexation of their territories.
Historian Robert Conquest describes a totalitarian state as a state which recognizes no limit on its authority in any sphere of public or private life and extends that authority to whatever length it considers feasible.
Totalitarianism is contrasted with authoritarianism. According to Radu Cinpoes, an authoritarian state is “only concerned with political power, and as long as it is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty.”
Cinpoes writes that authoritarianism “does not attempt to change the world and human nature.”
In contrast, Richard Pipes stated that the officially proclaimed ideology “penetrating into the deepest reaches of societal structure, and the totalitarian government seeks to completely control the thoughts and actions of its citizens.”
Carl Joachim Friedrich wrote that “[a] totalist ideology, a party reinforced by a secret police, and monopolistic control of industrial mass society are the three features of totalitarian regimes that distinguish them from other autocracies.”
Advanced Encryption Standard
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), also known by its original name Rijndael (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɛindaːl]), is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001.
AES is a variant of the Rijndael block cipher developed by two Belgian cryptographers, Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, who submitted a proposalto NIST during the AES selection process.
Rijndael is a family of ciphers with different key and block sizes. For AES, NIST selected three members of the Rijndael family, each with a block size of 128 bits, but three different key lengths: 128, 192 and 256 bits.
AES has been adopted by the U.S. government. It supersedes the Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was published in 1977.
The algorithm described by AES is a symmetric-key algorithm, meaning the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data.
In the United States, AES was announced by the NIST as U.S. FIPS PUB 197 (FIPS 197) on November 26, 2001.
This announcement followed a five-year standardization process in which fifteen competing designs were presented and evaluated, before the Rijndael cipher was selected as the most suitable.
AES is included in the ISO/IEC 18033-3 standard. AES became effective as a U.S. federal government standard on May 26, 2002, after approval by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
AES is available in many different encryption packages, and is the first (and only) publicly accessible cipher approved by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for top secret information when used in an NSA approved cryptographic module.
Andreas M. Antonopoulos (born 1972 in London) is a British-Greek Bitcoin advocate, tech entrepreneur, and author.
He is a host on the Speaking of Bitcoin podcast (formerly called Let’s Talk Bitcoin!) and a teaching fellow for the M.Sc. Digital Currencies at the University of Nicosia.
Antonopoulos was born in 1972 in London, UK, and moved to Athens, Greece during the Greek Junta.
He spent his childhood there, and at the age of 17 returned to the UK.
Antonopoulos obtained his degrees in Computer science and Data Communications, Networks and Distributed Systems from University College London.
- Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Currencies (2014, O’Reilly) ISBN 978-1449374044
- Mastering Bitcoin 2nd Edition: Programming the Open Blockchain (2017, O’Reilly) ISBN 978-1491954386
- Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and dApps (2018, O’Reilly) ISBN 978-1491971949
- The Internet of Money (Volume 1) (2016, O’Reilly) ISBN 978-1537000459
- The Internet of Money (Volume 2) (2017, Merkle Bloom, self-published) ISBN 978-1947910065
- The Internet of Money (Volume 3) (2019, Merkle Bloom, self-published) ISBN 978-1947910171
All Credit goes to Andreas M. Antonopoulos
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