Is Liberty Possible In A Totalitarian System Of Government?

By Comfort Obasi-Igwe. Comfort, 16, lives in Enugu, Nigeria. She is a student at the University of Nigeria Secondary School, in Nsukka. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

In a country where the government is totalitarian, you don’t have the freedom to have on opinion, you can’t say what you need to say, and this is due to the fact that your fundamental human rights have been trampled upon. This is because totalitarianism is the principle and practices of a state in which a single party or person controls all thoughts and actions of the citizens and does not allow any opposition.

A totalitarian government does not only control the behaviours and thoughts of the citizens, it uses compulsion to obtain obedience of the citizens to government policies. Examples of totalitarian government are military government, one-party system, Holy under Mussolini Benito and Nazi-Germany under Adolf Hitler.

In a country where the government is totalitarian, the fundamental human rights of the citizens are neglected. Their right to liberty, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of opinion and expression has been taken away from the citizens. They don’t have the right to express themselves in the right way, their voice has been taken away from them. They live in fear and they live their lives walking on eggshells. They have to make sure the shells don’t break else they would be punished for it.

While totalitarianism takes away the free will of the citizens because the government uses terror and force to impose their will on the citizens, many people would agree to the fact that totalitarianism brings and maintains order and law in a state. Does that mean that the citizens live in a good country? Does totalitarianism ensure the peace of mind of citizens? The answer to these questions are no because all that totalitarianism has brought is tears to the human eyes, scars to the human heart and chains that are bound around the human wrists and ankles.

The major disadvantage of totalitarianism is that it neglects the Fundamental Human Rights (FHRs) of citizens. And without FHR in the lives of citizens, they will be as good as dead human beings.

FHR is what gives meaning to our lives. It is the major reason we can lift up our heads, smile, raise our hands and make a joyful noise.

With FHR, we can live a life of liberty. And until we make efforts to introduce democracy which will respect the FHR of each and every citizen in a totalitarian state, the idea of having liberty in bandaged lives will always remain a dream.

The only way citizens can enjoy the FHR is through democratic practice in a country and this is possible because of the existence of the rule of law in a democratic government. Apart from democracy ensuring the absence of neglect of FHR of citizens, democracy ensures the maintenance of law and order just like totalitarianism. It also allows every citizen his/her opinion and this discourages oppression and marginalization unlike totalitarianism that takes away the freedom of speech from its citizens and uses terror and force to impose its will on the masses.

Unlike totalitarianism that makes every single decision concerning state affairs, a democratic government makes the masses the sole determinants of government actions and activities. This is done through a process called majority rule. The majority rule is carried out in a political gathering where the majority supports a decision by raising their hands.

5 comments on “Is Liberty Possible In A Totalitarian System Of Government?

  1. Echa Jeremiah U on

    As always, Comfort has done justice to the title given and chosen. I pride myself in the fact that I know that your capacity is limitless and your potential boundless. Your article reflects the ideals you most desire to see yourself and others reflect. Twale Comfort.


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