50 Pros and Cons of Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism Pros And Cons

Totalitarianism is a form of government where the state has total control over every aspect of citizens’ lives. This type of regime often relies on propaganda, censorship, and brute force to maintain power.

While some people argue that totalitarianism can be an effective way to achieve stability and order in society, others believe that it poses serious threats to individual freedom and human rights.

On one hand, proponents of totalitarianism claim that this system allows for efficient decision-making by eliminating dissenting voices and opposition groups. They also argue that it can provide stability in times of crisis or upheaval.

However, critics point out that totalitarian regimes are notorious for their abuse of power and violation of basic human rights such as free speech, privacy, and due process.

In this article, we will explore both the pros and cons of totalitarianism as a political ideology while examining its impact on societies throughout history.

Pros of Totalitarianism

  1. Rapid change
  2. Forced progress
  3. Equality enforced
  4. National sacrifice
  5. Efficient lawmaking
  6. Societal stability
  7. Economic control
  8. Clear leadership
  9. Crisis management
  10. Orderly society
  11. Unified direction
  12. Strong government
  13. Decisive actions
  14. No infighting
  15. Infrastructure development
  16. Crime prevention
  17. Centralized power
  18. Swift justice
  19. Uniform policies
  20. Efficient resource allocation
  21. State-provided services
  22. Controlled opposition
  23. Streamlined bureaucracy
  24. National unity
  25. Total control

1. Rapid change: In a totalitarian regime, decisions can be made and implemented quickly due to the absence of bureaucratic hurdles and opposing parties. This allows the government to swiftly address issues, respond to crises, and adapt to changing circumstances without delay. However, rapid change can sometimes result in hasty decisions, leading to potential negative consequences.

2. Forced progress: Totalitarian governments can drive progress in areas they deem important by allocating resources and directing efforts towards specific goals. By controlling all aspects of society, they can ensure that progress is made according to their vision. While this may lead to advancements in some areas, it can also stifle creativity and innovation in others, as resources are diverted according to the government’s priorities.

3. Equality enforced: In a totalitarian society, the government can more easily enforce equality among its citizens, as it has the power to control wealth distribution, access to resources, and social structures. This can lead to a more equal society in terms of economic and social opportunities. However, this enforced equality can also suppress individuality, as well as potentially lead to the persecution of minority groups.

4. National sacrifice: In a totalitarian state, citizens are often called upon to make sacrifices for the greater good of the nation. This can foster a sense of unity and shared purpose, as all members of society work together to achieve common goals. However, this national sacrifice can sometimes be used as a tool of oppression, as citizens may be forced to give up personal freedoms and rights for the sake of the state.

5. Efficient lawmaking: With a centralized government and no opposing parties, a totalitarian regime can create and implement laws quickly and efficiently. This can lead to swift action on pressing issues and the ability to enact necessary reforms. However, the lack of oversight and accountability can also result in the creation of oppressive laws and potential abuse of power.

6. Societal stability: Totalitarian governments can provide a sense of stability and order by maintaining tight control over all aspects of society. This can create a stable environment, which can be appealing to some citizens. However, this stability can come at the cost of individual freedoms, as well as the potential for repression and state terrorism.

7. Economic control: In a totalitarian state, the government has significant control over the economy, allowing it to direct resources and make decisions without interference from private interests or competing political factions. This can lead to efficient allocation of resources and centralized economic planning. However, this level of control can also stifle innovation and lead to economic stagnation.

8. Clear leadership: Totalitarian regimes are characterized by a single, powerful leader who is responsible for making decisions and setting the direction for the nation. This clear leadership can provide a sense of direction and purpose for the country. However, this concentration of power can also lead to corruption, dictatorship, and the suppression of dissent.

9. Crisis management: In times of crisis, a totalitarian government can act quickly and decisively to address the issue at hand. With centralized control and the ability to mobilize resources, this system can be effective in responding to emergencies. However, the lack of input from diverse perspectives may lead to misguided or ineffective solutions.

10. Orderly society: Totalitarian governments maintain tight control over their citizens, often resulting in an orderly and well-regulated society. This can create a sense of safety and security for citizens, as crime rates are often low and social unrest is minimized. However, this orderliness can come at the cost of personal freedom and individual expression.

11. Unified direction: With a single ruling party and no opposition, a totalitarian government can pursue a unified vision and set of policies for the nation. This can lead to a more cohesive national identity and a strong sense of purpose. However, the lack of diverse perspectives and ideas can also result in the suppression of dissenting voices and an inflexible approach to governance.

12. Strong government: A totalitarian state is characterized by a powerful and centralized government that controls all aspects of society. This strong government can provide stability and order, as well as the ability to make decisions and implement policies quickly. However, this concentration of power can also lead to corruption, oppression, and a lack of accountability.

13. Decisive actions: In a totalitarian regime, decisions can be made quickly and efficiently, without the need for lengthy deliberations or negotiations between different political factions. This decisiveness can be beneficial in situations that require swift action, such as responding to a crisis or implementing necessary reforms. However, this lack of consultation and debate can also result in hasty decisions and potential negative consequences.

14. No infighting: With a single ruling party and no opposition, a totalitarian government is free from the infighting and gridlock that can characterize more democratic systems. This lack of internal conflict can lead to a more efficient and streamlined government. However, the absence of opposing viewpoints and debate can also result in a lack of accountability and a suppression of dissenting voices.

15. Infrastructure development: Totalitarian governments can direct resources and efforts toward large-scale infrastructure projects, as they have the authority to make decisions and allocate funds without interference from competing interests or political factions. This can lead to impressive feats of engineering and construction that benefit the nation. However, these projects may be pursued at the expense of other priorities, and may not always align with the needs and desires of the population.

16. Crime prevention: With a large police force and an extensive surveillance apparatus, totalitarian states can effectively prevent and combat crime. This can result in a low crime rate and a sense of safety for citizens. However, this extensive surveillance and policing can also lead to a loss of privacy and potential abuse of power by law enforcement agencies.

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17. Centralized power: Totalitarian governments concentrate power in the hands of a single ruling party or individual, allowing for quick decision-making and efficient policy implementation. While this can result in a more streamlined government, it may also lead to a lack of oversight, corruption, and limited checks and balances to prevent abuses of power.

18. Swift justice: In a totalitarian state, the justice system can act quickly to prosecute and punish those who break the law or challenge the government’s authority. While this can lead to a sense of order and safety, it may also result in a lack of due process, false convictions, and the suppression of dissent.

19. Uniform policies: Totalitarian governments can implement uniform policies across the entire nation, ensuring consistent regulations and standards. This can create a more cohesive society and make it easier for citizens to understand and comply with the law. However, it may also lead to a lack of flexibility and adaptability to local needs and circumstances.

20. Efficient resource allocation: With centralized control over the economy and resources, a totalitarian government can allocate resources according to its priorities and goals. This can lead to efficient use of resources and the ability to prioritize certain areas of development. However, it may also lead to misallocation of resources and a lack of responsiveness to the needs of the population.

21. State-provided services: Totalitarian governments often provide essential goods and services to their citizens, ensuring that basic needs are met. This can result in a more equal society and a safety net for the most vulnerable. However, the quality and availability of these services may be subject to the whims of the government, and citizens may have little say in how they are provided.

22. Controlled opposition: In a totalitarian state, any political opposition is carefully controlled and monitored by the government. This can prevent the rise of radical or extremist groups that could threaten the stability of the nation. However, it also stifles legitimate dissent and can lead to the persecution of those who challenge the government’s authority.

23. Streamlined bureaucracy: With a centralized government and limited political opposition, a totalitarian regime can maintain a streamlined bureaucracy with clear lines of authority and responsibility. This can lead to more efficient administration and decision-making. However, it may also result in a lack of accountability and transparency, as well as a concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals.

24. National unity: Totalitarian regimes often promote a strong sense of national unity and shared identity among their citizens, creating a cohesive society that can work together towards common goals. However, this sense of unity may be built upon a foundation of propaganda, indoctrination, and the suppression of dissenting voices and minority groups.

25. Total control: Totalitarian governments maintain total control over all aspects of society, from the economy and politics to culture and social life. This can create a sense of order and predictability for citizens, as well as allow the government to pursue its agenda without interference. However, this total control can also lead to abuses of power, a lack of individual freedom, and a stifling of creativity and innovation.

Cons of Totalitarianism

  1. Limited freedom
  2. Suppressed dissent
  3. Intrusive surveillance
  4. Censorship enforced
  5. Creativity stifled
  6. No privacy
  7. Minority persecution
  8. Forced conformity
  9. Abused power
  10. Human rights violations
  11. No accountability
  12. Propaganda usage
  13. Thought control
  14. Economic inefficiency
  15. Brain drain
  16. State corruption
  17. Social unrest
  18. Restricted immigration
  19. Fear culture
  20. Nepotism risks
  21. Poor innovation
  22. Arbitrary rule
  23. Isolationist tendencies
  24. Rights deprivation
  25. Suppressed individuality

1. Limited freedom: In totalitarian regimes, citizens often experience a lack of personal freedom and autonomy. The government dictates many aspects of their lives, including their beliefs, values, and behaviors. This type of total control can lead to feelings of oppression and a loss of individual identity, as people are forced to conform to the state’s ideology and suppress their own thoughts and opinions.

2. Suppressed dissent: Totalitarian governments do not tolerate dissent or opposition to their rule. They often employ various methods of thought suppression and political repression to silence critics and maintain their grip on power. This can include censorship of the media, imprisonment of political dissidents, and even state-sponsored violence against those who challenge the regime’s authority.

3. Intrusive surveillance: One of the hallmarks of totalitarian states is their extensive use of surveillance to monitor and control their citizens. This can take the form of secret police, widespread camera networks, and the monitoring of personal communications. This constant surveillance creates a climate of fear and paranoia, as people are never sure if they are being watched or if their actions might be used against them in the future.

4. Censorship enforced: In order to maintain their power and control over society, totalitarian governments often enforce strict censorship of information and ideas. This can include the banning of books, films, and other forms of expression that the regime deems dangerous or subversive. This censorship limits the free flow of information and ideas, stifling intellectual and cultural growth within the society.

5. Creativity stifled: Under the oppressive conditions of a totalitarian regime, creativity and innovation can be severely limited. The strict control over information and expression, combined with the pervasive climate of fear, discourages people from exploring new ideas and taking creative risks. This can result in a stagnant cultural landscape and a lack of progress in areas such as science, technology, and the arts.

6. No privacy: With the pervasive surveillance and monitoring carried out by totalitarian governments, citizens often have little to no privacy in their daily lives. Their personal communications, movements, and even thoughts can be subject to scrutiny by the state. This lack of privacy can be psychologically damaging, as people feel constantly watched and judged by the regime.

7. Minority persecution: Totalitarian regimes often target minority groups, subjecting them to persecution and discrimination. This can take many forms, including ethnic cleansing, forced relocation, and the denial of basic rights and freedoms. These oppressive policies can lead to widespread suffering and long-lasting social and cultural damage.

8. Forced conformity: In order to maintain their control over the population, totalitarian governments often require strict conformity to the state’s ideology and values. This can include mandatory participation in political events, adherence to a specific dress code, or the suppression of religious beliefs and practices. This forced conformity stifles individual expression and diversity, creating a homogenous and controlled society.

9. Abused power: Absolute power often leads to power abuse in totalitarian regimes. Those in control may use their authority to silence dissent, enrich themselves, and maintain their grip on power. This unchecked power can lead to widespread corruption, the violation of human rights, and a culture of fear and oppression.

10. Human rights violations: Totalitarian states are notorious for their disregard for basic human rights and freedoms. Citizens may be subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killings, all in the name of maintaining the regime’s iron grip on power. These human rights abuses can lead to long-lasting trauma and suffering for the affected individuals and their families.

11. No accountability: In a totalitarian system, the ruling party or individual often faces little to no accountability for their actions. This lack of oversight can lead to widespread corruption, mismanagement, and abuses of power. Without any checks and balances in place, the government can act with impunity, often at the expense of the general population.

12. Propaganda usage: Totalitarian regimes often rely heavily on propaganda to shape public opinion and maintain their control over society. This can include the manipulation of news, education, and other forms of communication to promote the regime’s narrative and suppress dissenting voices. This ideological control can lead to a distorted understanding of reality and a lack of critical thinking among the population.

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13. Thought control: In an effort to maintain their grip on power, totalitarian governments often employ various methods of thought control, including indoctrination, censorship, and the suppression of dissenting opinions. This can lead to a society in which independent thought and critical thinking are discouraged, and citizens are conditioned to unquestioningly accept the regime’s ideology and policies.

14. Economic inefficiency: The centralized control of the economy in a totalitarian system can lead to inefficiencies, as resources are often allocated based on political considerations rather than market forces. This can result in wasted resources, stagnation, and a lack of innovation and growth. Additionally, the suppression of individual freedom and creativity can hinder economic progress and prosperity.

15. Brain drain: The oppressive conditions and lack of opportunities in totalitarian states can lead to a “brain drain”, as talented and

educated individuals seek to escape the regime and find better opportunities elsewhere. This can result in a loss of skilled workers and intellectual capital, further hindering the development and progress of the country.

16. State corruption: With unchecked power and a lack of oversight, corruption can be rampant within totalitarian governments. Officials may use their positions to enrich themselves and their allies, leading to widespread injustice and a lack of trust in the government. This corruption can also have a negative impact on the economy, as resources are diverted away from the public good and into the hands of a corrupt few.

17. Social unrest: The oppressive conditions and widespread human rights abuses in totalitarian states can lead to social unrest and resistance from the population. This can manifest in various forms, including protests, strikes, and even armed rebellion. While the regime may use force to suppress dissent, this unrest can destabilize the country and threaten the government’s grip on power.

18. Restricted immigration: Totalitarian governments often tightly control their borders and restrict immigration, both to prevent the spread of dissenting ideas and to maintain a homogenous society that is easier to control. This can lead to a lack of cultural diversity and a stagnation of ideas and innovation, as well as human rights abuses against those who attempt to flee the regime.

19. Fear culture: The pervasive surveillance, censorship, and repression in totalitarian states can create a culture of fear, where citizens are afraid to speak out against the regime or express dissenting opinions. This fear can be psychologically damaging, as people constantly worry about the consequences of their actions and the possibility of punishment by the state.

20. Nepotism risks: In the absence of democratic checks and balances, totalitarian governments may be more susceptible to nepotism and the concentration of power within a small group of elites. This can lead to a lack of diversity in decision-making and the entrenchment of power within a single family or political faction.

21. Poor innovation: The strict control of information and expression in totalitarian states can hinder innovation, as new ideas and creative approaches are stifled in favor of maintaining the status quo. This lack of innovation can result in a stagnant economy and a lack of progress in areas such as science, technology, and the arts.

22. Arbitrary rule: Totalitarian governments often rule through arbitrary and capricious decisions, with little regard for the rule of law or the well-being of the population. This can lead to a climate of uncertainty and fear, as citizens are unsure of what actions may result in punishment or persecution by the state.

23. Isolationist tendencies: Totalitarian regimes often adopt isolationist policies, seeking to maintain control over their population by limiting exposure to outside influences and ideas. This can result in a lack of international cooperation, trade, and cultural exchange, further stifling progress and development within the country.

24. Rights deprivation: Under totalitarian rule, citizens are often deprived of their basic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. This can lead to a society where individuals are unable to express themselves or question the government’s actions, resulting in a lack of accountability and the perpetuation of injustice and abuse.

25. Suppressed individuality: The forced conformity and strict control of expression in totalitarian states can lead to the suppression of individuality and personal identity. Citizens may be required to adhere to a specific dress code, conform to state-approved beliefs, or sacrifice their personal interests for the good of the regime. This can result in a homogenous society where diversity and personal expression are discouraged, limiting the potential for growth and progress.

Efficient Decision-Making

Efficient decision-making is often cited as a benefit of totalitarianism, with proponents arguing that it allows for swift and decisive actions to be taken without the hindrance of bureaucracy or democratic processes.

This can lead to rapid progress in areas such as infrastructure development and economic growth. However, this efficiency comes at a cost, as individual freedoms are

often sacrificed in the pursuit of collective goals.

The lack of checks and balances also increases the risk of corruption and abuse of power. In terms of its implications for democracy, efficient decision-making may seem appealing but ultimately undermines the principles of accountability and transparency that are essential for a functioning democratic system.

While there may be short-term gains from centralized decision-making, the long-term consequences could prove detrimental to society as a whole.

Stability In Times Of Crisis

The benefits of stability in times of crisis include a sense of security, predictability and structure, while its drawbacks are the potential for oppressive rule and limited individual freedoms.

On one hand, a totalitarian regime can provide a sense of order, but on the other, it can lead to restrictions on civil liberties and the suppression of dissent.

Ultimately, it’s a trade-off between order and freedom that must be carefully weighed.

Benefits Of Stability

Have you ever wondered what benefits there are to living in a totalitarian society?

While it may seem counterintuitive, one of the biggest advantages is stability.

In times of crisis, such as economic downturns or natural disasters, a totalitarian government can quickly and effectively respond without having to worry about political opposition or dissenting opinions.

This can have a positive impact on economic growth, as the government can make swift decisions regarding investment and infrastructure projects without being bogged down by bureaucracy.

Additionally, societal conformity is easier to achieve under a totalitarian regime since everyone is forced to adhere to the same beliefs and values.

However, it’s important to note that these benefits come at a steep cost: loss of personal freedoms and individuality.

So while stability may be desirable in times of crisis, we must weigh the pros and cons before fully embracing totalitarianism.

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Disadvantages Of Stability

But stability can also have its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to creativity and innovation.

In a society that prioritizes conformity over individuality, there is little room for new ideas or ways of thinking. This could ultimately hinder progress and prevent the development of groundbreaking solutions to problems in times of crisis.

Additionally, an emphasis on maintaining stability may lead to complacency and resistance to change, making it difficult for societies to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

Therefore, while stability can be advantageous during crises, we must consider the potential negative effects on creativity and innovation before fully embracing it as a solution.

Abuse Of Power And Human Rights Violations

While stability in times of crisis is important for any society, it should not come at the cost of human rights violations and abuse of power.

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Totalitarianism may provide a sense of security and order, but its impact on society can be devastating. The suppression of individual freedom leads to a lack of creativity and innovation, hindering progress and development. Moreover, propaganda and censorship prevent open discourse and critical thinking, leading to misinformation and ignorance among citizens.

On the other hand, totalitarian regimes often prioritize economic growth over social welfare, resulting in significant impacts on the economy. While this may lead to short-term benefits such as job creation and increased productivity, it can also create long-term instability by neglecting social safety nets like healthcare and education. Additionally, corruption tends to flourish under authoritarian rule since those in power have little accountability or transparency.

The effects of totalitarianism on society are far-reaching, impacting everything from culture to technology. It creates an environment where conformity trumps diversity, leading to a homogenized society that lacks unique perspectives and ideas. This stifles creativity while reinforcing harmful stereotypes about certain groups. Furthermore, state control over education limits opportunities for learning beyond what the government deems acceptable.

Overall, while totalitarianism may appear beneficial in some respects initially; its negative consequences outweigh any potential advantages. Its disregard for individual liberties causes lasting damage to both society’s cultural fabric as well as its economic health.

Therefore we must remain vigilant against abuses of power that undermine our fundamental freedoms without sacrificing stability during crises.

Suppression Of Dissent And Opposition

Like a menacing shadow, suppression of dissent and opposition looms over any totalitarian regime. The mere expression of an opposing view can lead to imprisonment or execution without trial. This has a chilling effect on society as individuals fear speaking out against the government.

Creativity is stifled when artists are forced to conform to state-sanctioned themes and styles. Progress in science and technology is hampered when researchers cannot pursue ideas that challenge the status quo.

In short, the suppression of dissent and opposition not only violates basic human rights but also hinders societal progress by limiting creativity and innovation.

Historical Examples Of Totalitarianism

Historical Examples of Totalitarianism have had a profound impact on society, with long term consequences that are still felt today. One such example is Nazi Germany under the rule of Adolf Hitler, where individual freedoms were stripped away and propaganda was used to manipulate the masses into supporting his regime. The table below illustrates some of the atrocities committed during this time period:

Atrocities Description Impact
Holocaust Systematic extermination of six million Jews Generations affected by trauma
Forced labor camps Prisoners forced to work in brutal conditions for little to no pay Death tolls in thousands
Gestapo secret police Used fear and intimidation tactics to suppress opposition Widespread paranoia and distrust among citizens

The Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin also exemplifies totalitarianism, with a similar disregard for individual rights and a focus on state control. This resulted in millions of deaths through famine, purges, and gulags. These historical examples serve as cautionary tales for the dangers of unchecked power and highlight the lasting effects that authoritarian regimes can have on societies.

Overall, it is clear that totalitarianism has devastating impacts on society that last far beyond its immediate reign. As we continue to navigate political systems around the world, it is important to remain vigilant against these types of abuses of power.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Potential Benefits Of Living Under A Totalitarian Government?

When considering the advantages and disadvantages of living under a totalitarian government, it’s important to acknowledge that there are potential benefits as well as drawbacks.

On the one hand, a centralized authority can provide stability and security for its citizens by enforcing order and preventing dissent. This may be especially appealing in times of crisis or uncertainty when decisive action is necessary.

However, on the other hand, such an arrangement also carries significant risks, including the potential for abuse of power and suppression of individual liberties.

Ultimately, whether the pros outweigh the cons depends on a variety of factors unique to each situation and society.

How Do Totalitarian Regimes Handle Dissent From Within The Ruling Party?

Party loyalty is a crucial aspect of any totalitarian regime, and dissent from within the ruling party can be seen as a threat to the leadership.

To prevent this, internal surveillance is often implemented to monitor the behavior and actions of high-ranking officials.

Those who are suspected of disloyalty or dissent may face consequences such as demotion or even imprisonment.

The fear of punishment keeps many members in line with the government’s ideology, ensuring that there is no opposition from within the ruling party itself.

Can A Totalitarian Government Be Overthrown Without Resorting To Violent Revolution?

Non violent resistance and public opinion can be powerful tools in overthrowing a totalitarian government without resorting to violent revolution.

Historically, examples such as Mahatma Gandhi’s movement against British colonial rule in India or the peaceful protests during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States have demonstrated the effectiveness of nonviolent methods.

By harnessing public opinion and mobilizing citizens to engage in acts of civil disobedience, it is possible for individuals to bring about change through dialogue rather than force.

However, this approach requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to endure repression from authorities who may not tolerate dissent.

How Do Totalitarian Governments Justify Their Human Rights Violations To Their Citizens?

Coincidentally, when discussing how totalitarian governments justify their human rights violations to citizens, the conversation often turns towards citizen manipulation and propaganda techniques.

These tactics are commonly used by such regimes as a means of controlling information and shaping public perception.

By limiting access to alternative perspectives and flooding media channels with messages that promote obedience and loyalty, these governments can convince citizens that sacrificing certain freedoms is necessary for the greater good or national security.

While this type of communication may seem harmless at first glance, it can have disastrous consequences for those who dare to question authority or challenge the status quo.

Is It Possible For A Totalitarian Regime To Transition To A Democratic System Of Government?

Transitioning from a totalitarian regime to a democratic system of government is not an impossible feat. However, it requires a careful and gradual approach that takes into account the unique circumstances of each country.

The key challenge lies in building democratic stability and ensuring that institutions are strong enough to withstand political pressures. Such transitions often involve significant reforms, including constitutional changes, free and fair elections, and the establishment of independent media and civil society organizations.

Despite the challenges, successful transition possibilities have been observed in countries such as Spain, Portugal, and South Korea.


In conclusion, living under a totalitarian government can have some potential benefits such as efficient decision-making and stability. However, these come at the cost of individual freedoms and human rights violations that are often justified by the ruling party. Dissent is not tolerated within the regime itself, making it difficult for any internal change to occur without violent revolution.

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2018, only 26% of people globally believe that a dictatorship could be preferable to a democracy in certain situations. This statistic highlights the overwhelming preference for democratic systems of government over authoritarian ones.

While there may be arguments made for the efficiency and stability of totalitarian regimes, ultimately they do not prioritize individual liberties and human rights which are essential components of democratic societies. It is important to continue advocating for democracy and supporting movements towards greater freedom and equality around the world.








totalitarian government pros and cons