What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Totalitarianism?

The advantages of totalitarian style governments are, arguably, limited to the government, while the disadvantages, which include dramatically restricted or all but nonexistent freedoms and basic rights, are limited to the citizenry. Totalitarian regimes exercise tight control over their citizens, implementing strict laws not only for public life but for private life as well; these laws and the power of the totalitarian state are most typically supported by a combination of propaganda and military or police intimidation and surveillance. It can be argued that it is easy to govern under these conditions because voting and other exercises of a citizen’s freedom are not an impediment to governance.

Under a textbook perfect totalitarian regime, the government will exercise total control over all aspects of society, from laws, police and other state functions to the morality, religion and other aspects of citizens’ private lives. Totalitarian governments can exist on any end of the political spectrum, from totalitarian Communist regimes such as those that existed in Russia under Joseph Stalin and China under Mao Zedong, or the fascist government that existed in Germany under Nazi (National Socialist) power or in Italy under Benito Mussolini. Therefore, totalitarianism is characterized more by the amount of power a government exerts rather than the form that government takes.