I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your t.v.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me
--Cult of Personality, Living Colour
The basic break between totalitarianism and liberal government is the orientation of the government to the governed. The story of democracy is that We the People matter, and government exists to serve the individual. Totalitarianism is supposed to be the opposite.
In our myth, citizens are unique individuals, not drop-forged identical personalities. We take pride in our rugged individualism, but a survey of the environment says otherwise. We are, in fact, interchangeable and stereotypical. Rappers don't wear Brooks Brothers, and congressmen don't wear their pants around their knees (though a shav may sport a Burberry cap, exercising his maximum ability to infiltrate corporate culture.)
Our educational and religious systems teach conformity and compliance. Bankers, lawyers and tradespeople are all die-stamped and interchangeable. The same is especially true of military personnel. Yet we continue to perpetuate the lie that we are all unique, when the reality is quite the opposite.
Dictators are always considered to be exceptional people, beyond the norm and above the law; supreme. To Americans, Stalin, or Mao or Il Duce or Der Fuhrer are all considered unpalatable, to be charitable. And yet . . . there has been a recent transference of these ideas onto our perception of our own leaders. Call it an American hagiography of the ruling class.
Americans like to think themselves so classless and free, but we do have a caste system, and it is economic and political.
If we do not clearly see the delusion of our exceptionality, how can we address world issue objectively?