Totalitarismo y pensamiento / Eduardo Vásquez

Totalitarianism and Thought

Both terms are incompatible. The existence of one is the death of the other. At the apparition of a man who aspires to exercise absolute power over society, that is, a power that penetrates up to the last interstice of human relations, that aspirant will try to liquidate thought. It’s not only a matter of liquidating the ideas that are opposed to him, but thought itself, since it is always subversive. When a functionary identifies himself completely with the ideas of his boss, he has renounced thought, he has renounced the only faculty that distinguishes him from animals. Freedom of thought and of expressing what is thought, which is inherent to democratic regimes, is what elevates men above animals. The man who aspires to be a totalitarian dictator cannot tolerate it. Democratic regimes, by nature, have to admit and foment it. What constitutes the dialectical in Hegel is, precisely, that thought houses within itself its own negation. And it’s no different in Marx. Only that the force of negativity is found in the development of the work force and in the means it elaborates in order to dominate production. Without negative power there would be no history or progress. Curiously, the pseudo-Marxist Chavistas do everything in their power to eliminate it. What happens to them is what Marx said about capitalist society, that it considers itself the final and definitive stage of history, sustaining that “history existed, but no longer” (The Misery of Philosophy). Regarding thought, all totalitarianisms try to eliminate it. In his program for governance one of Hitler’s biggest goals was to eliminate academic freedoms. It’s the same thing Ernesto Guevara says: it can’t be that the government has plans for development and the universities don’t march in step. Militarism is present in all totalitarianisms. The Venezuelan university already lived through this situation, in the sixties, when Soviet Marxism was the dominant philosophy (or anti-philosophy?). The followers of that current forced their students to repeat what the Soviet manuals sustained. He who castrates himself obliges others to undergo the same surgery. It was an era of extreme poverty for thought, whose effects we are still suffering. That unburied corpse maintains itself by means of its simplification, its superficiality and rejection of all critical versions. Its influence is seen in that philosophy of little spheres found in their pedagogical ideology. What appears there is the most absolute absence of thought. It’s not an ideology. It’s a group of slogans that buries all thought. Therein resides its success: it reinforces fanaticism, the absence of criticism and, above all, the absence of doubt, which is the manifestation of all thought. Our pseudo-Marxists have inverted the Cartesian axiom: I think, therefore I am, Descartes said. If I think, I don’t exist.

{ Eduardo Vásquez, Tal Cual, 29 November 2007 }

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