Democracies are especially prone to the totalitarian impulse because people can easily be manipulated into perceiving an ominous threat where little or none exists. The state and its owners appeal to the false sense of pride and the imagined rights of the populace in order to enlist popular political support in the totalitarian venture. The evils of the enemy become exaggerated by sensationalist reporting and a fear on the part of the media of appearing to be soft on the threat. Real rights cam be eliminated in the name of promoting rights that only few can actually exercise. The rights of high stakes investors must be protected at the expense of those with meager means because of the national importance of large holdings.
The greatest achievement of the totalitarian spirit is the establishment and promotion of totalitarianism in the name of freedom. Anyone who opposes the despotic state is opposed to freedom itself. Pacifists are seen as vicious antagonists who must be purged from the social fabric for their anti-freedom views. Children must be conditioned to see pacifism as a part of the existential threat to freedom. Anyone who opposes total war against the enemy of freedom is an enemy of freedom. Education is crafted to regiment the populace into the machinery of war for the sake of war with a thin facade of "freedom" to disguise naked aggression. Civic participation is limited to a yearly visit to the polls in order to select a candidate from a pre-approved list of vetted flunkies who differ only in their opinion on which end of the egg one must open.
The irony of the whole thing is how little it takes to jerk the knee of this monstrous apparatus. The existential threat becomes more ominous as the resources at its disposal becomes smaller. The real enemy in total war is not the one on the other side of the frontier, but the one who amplifies the threat from beyond. In America, anti-Communism was far more anti-American than it was anti-Russian. Woodrow Wilson was a bigger despot to America than was the Kaiser. Surveillance workers in America suffer from the stress of knowing that they are under surveillance.
Isn't freedom wonderful?