This book has sought to answer the question of whether or not totalitarianism is something modern. Spain under the Spanish Inquisition became totalitarian, but that France under its papal inquisition did not. Even if one disagrees with my explanation as to why Spain became totalitarian, the reader at least hopefully will be convinced by this book that pre-modern societies can, in fact, become totalitarian. If we dispense with the notion that totalitarianism is linked to modernity, we will be better able to understand the logic behind totalitarianism—a type of rule that can occur in both pre-modern and post-modern societies. Of course, the manner in which totalitarianism manifests itself will not be the same in different epochs. Just as the direct democracy of Athens differs from modern parliamentary democracy, pre-modern totalitarian regimes differ from modern ones; but that does not make them any less totalitarian, just as Greek democracy was no less democratic than modern representative democracy. When it comes to controlling people’s thoughts, and forcing them to prove beyond a doubt that they really believe in the “correct” ideology, it would be hard to find a more totalitarian society than Spain was under the Inquisition.
KeywordsTotalitarianism Banality of evil State-building Outgroups Legitimacy
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