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The New Totalitarians

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Originally published  1 January 1971
4.4/5 Goodreads

Author  Roland Huntford
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Similar  Roland Huntford books, Other books

The New Totalitarians is a 1971 book by British author Roland Huntford. Huntford analyzes the political and social climate of early 1970s Sweden, and argues that it resembles a benevolent totalitarian state in the mould of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The main thesis was that the Swedish government relied less upon the violence and intimidation of the old totalitarians than upon sly persuasion and soft manipulation in order to achieve its goals. The influence of the state and official ideology were the most visible in the most private of matters, where little or no consciously “political” control had stretched before.

At the time, Sweden was a nation controlled by the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, which had ruled the country's government for over 40 years. Huntford argues that this had led to the complete dominance of socialist thought at all levels of the government, including the bureaucracy and the judiciary, which were all controlled by a powerful interconnecting network of Social Democratic labour unions, lobby groups, and partisan organizations. He also points to the fact that these networks made it very difficult for non-socialists to achieve any position of real power in Sweden, but noted that few Swedes seemed to view this massive politicization of their state with any concern.

The New Totalitarians also analyzes Swedish society in a broader historical context, arguing that since the country bypassed the feudal system and has always been a very centralized state, Sweden never really developed a civic culture that champions individualism like other countries of Western Europe. He thus argues that the country's political culture and institutions are very much the product of a unique socio-political context, and thus not applicable to otherwise comparable Western nations.

At the same time he analyses how sex was being “politicized” by design from above. The changes in the sexual behaviour of the Swedes was a matter of official direction. Sex had become the vicarious passion of a society trapped in boredom and “engineered consent”.

Influences

The book greatly influenced Canadian author Peter Brimelow, and is repeatedly cited in his similarly themed 1986 book on Canada, The Patriot Game.

References

The New Totalitarians Wikipedia


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