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22 August 2017
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The totalitarian mindset

By:  Dr. Boris Bakunas, M.A., M.Ed, Ph.D.

Fact:  In a 2008 poll conducted by Rossiya State television that drew more than 50 million votes, Josef Stalin was chosen as the third most popular figure in Russian history.

Fact:  In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik massacred 69 adolescents at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya Island, Norway shortly after bombing government buildings in Oslo where eight people were killed.  Breivik claimed that he was acting in self-defense to protect Norway from an Islamic terrorist takeover.

Fact:  Under the shield of the internet, thousands of ultra-nationalists and religious extremists openly espouse mass murder, e.g., “Go into the streets and murder those Russians and Poles, (TheKingdomofGames, 2012), “HOW ABOUT WE KILL MUSLIMS,” (666MikeRochip, 2012), and “Its time to destroy America and capitalism…Soviet union live forever in our hearts!” (KenseiTakesi, 2012).

When the Soviet Union collapsed, a totalitarian regime had crumbled, but the Totalitarian Mindset -- which demands absolute conformity in thought, word, and deed – survived, and in many quarters, continues to thrive. 

How do we explain this spike in political and religious intolerance, hate-speech, and violence?  Why does the Totalitarian Mindset exist even after a century in which mass murderers like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong turned much of the globe into a mass grave?   

Inside the Totalitarian Mind

According to world-renowned psychotherapists Dr. Albert Ellis (1986) and Dr. Aaron T. Beck (1999), the primary (although not the sole) cause of war, terrorism, and hatred resides in the irrational belief-systems and primitive information-processing systems that underlie destructive emotions of anger, hostility, and rage. 

Dr. Ellis has identified several of the irrational beliefs, often implicitly held just below the surface of consciousness, that fuel religious and political fanaticism.  Here are just two:

1. “Our views of people and the universe are Absolutely and Everlasting True, and nobody deserves to live who opposes these supreme views”
2.  “Our political or religious cause is the only worthy one that should exist.  We alone can save humanity and prevent evil.  We must do anything – yes, anything – to make sure that we extirpate everyone who prevents our noble cause from prevailing!”

When provoked by failure to conform to their rigid, dogmatic beliefs, totalitarians revel in anger, vulgar vilification, threats, and brutal aggression.  Why?

First, totalitarians confuse their belief-system as well as the symbols that represent their beliefs with their identities.  They interpret any challenge to a cherished opinion or symbol as an existential threat, and react instantaneously as if they were physically attacked.   When an inflammatory video insulting the prophet Mohamed recently appeared on the internet, violent Anti-American demonstrations rocked the Islamic world.  Islamic extremists attacked the American embassy in Libya and killed four Americans, including the American ambassador. When a photograph of a Muslim accidentally setting himself ablaze as he burned an American flag was published, many Americans expressed delight.

Contrast this attitude to one Zen Buddhists display towards objects of religious worship.  Tan Hia (Tan-ka), a noted Chinese Zen master, did not hesitate to warm himself on a cold morning by the fire made of a wooden statue of Buddha – a story that is repeated in Buddhist literature to emphasize that relics and representations have no inherent sanctity or worth. 

Second, totalitarians escalate their preferences into absolute demands.  Instead of rationally telling themselves they would strongly prefer that other people see the error of their ways and changed their minds, totalitarians irrationally conclude, “Because I want others to agree with me, they absolutely must give up their foolish notions and behavior – and if they don’t, it’s (a) terrible, (b) I can’t stand it, and (c) they must be severely punished, even tortured or killed for refusing to act as I insist.    

Is it rational to insist that all people must share identical opinions?  If other people absolutely had to agree with our views, then they would.  The very fact that a diversity of opinion exists proves that no law of the universe requires other people to be any different than the way they are.  To insist that they must is to fly in the face of reality.  Rationally, we can strongly prefer that people change, but to insist that they absolutely have is to assume that our wishes are their commands. Indeed, what a dull world this would be if everybody thought the same, looked the same, and behaved exactly the same?  Yet this is precisely the kind of society that totalitarians endeavor to create. 

Third, totalitarians revel in demonizing entire groups of people. Hitler slaughtered Jews, gypsies, Jehovah’s witnesses, communists, socialists and any other group he saw as standing in his psychopathic ambition to conquer the world.  Stalin ordered the murder of all he deemed politically unreliable, including millions of peasants (kulaks) in the Ukraine and Central Asia (Conquest, 1986). Today, there are Americans and Europeans who demonize all Muslims;  Muslims who demonize all Americans, Europeans, and Israelis; and Eastern Europeans who demonize all Russians. The cycle of blame, bigotry, and butchery spirals; and the march of human misery persists.

Can Totalitarian Thinking Be Eliminated?

Both Ellis and Beck express guarded optimism that the majority of non-psychotic totalitarians can be helped to abandon their irrational beliefs through psychological counseling and education, though neither claims that the task will be easy. 

I remain skeptical that this will occur in our lifetimes. Neither the resources to train nor the logistics required to deliver psychological counseling to millions seem feasible.  Furthermore, human beings have been and remain highly fallible – and gullible – creatures.  The technology of propaganda has mushroomed as televisions and computers proliferate throughout the world.  Finally, governmental institutions and educational systems are notoriously slow to change. 

However, I do believe in the power of individual beings to exert a tremendous change in the attitudes that shape our societies and cultures.  The very instruments used to spread hate can be turned against the totalitarians to spread tolerance and respect.  Also, let us never estimate the difference that a single courageous person can make. 

In the summer of 1940, Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Kaunas, Lithuania saw the danger that Polish and Lithuanian Jews faced under the Nazi occupation.  Three times he dutifully asked his government to amend its stringent visa requirements in order to allow Jews to acquire exit visas and escape.  Three times, his government flatly refused. 

Finally, Chiune Sugihara decided to act.  Between 18 July and 28 August of 1940, Chiune Sugihara and his wife, Yukiko, in an extraordinary act of disobedience, began issuing transit visas on their own.  Working day and night, and often writing by hand, Chiune and Yukiko Sugihara issued 3,400 transit visas, making it possible for 6,000 Jews to escape. 

Eyewitnesses report that he continued to write visas even after boarding the train at the Kaunas Railway Station, flinging them out the window to frightened refugees as the train began to move. So desperate was he that he wrote his last visas on blank sheets of paper containing only his signature and the consulate seal. The Jewish refugees could fill them in later.  His last words as he left were:  “Please forgive me.  I cannot write anymore. I wish you the best.” 

After the war, Chiune Sugihara was dismissed from his diplomatic post for his disobedience.  Today, about 40,000 descendents of the Jewish refugees are alive (“Chiune Sugihara,” Wikipedia).

While it is highly unlikely we will find ourselves in a position to save as many lives as Chiune Sugihara did, let us never underestimate the lasting effects even one kind word or deed can have.

One day a teacher noticed that a teen-aged girl in his class never raised her hand to answer a question.  After speaking to her, he learned that she was terrified of making a mistake in front of her peers. He made a deal with her.  “I will give you the answer to a question I will ask tomorrow. All I want you to do is to raise your hand and answer it.”  She did as he asked.  Three weeks later, her mother called him to thank him, saying that her daughter, who had failed to participate in class since the third grade, was now eagerly answering questions in all her courses. Fifteen years later, the teacher happened to see his former student at the university where he subsequently taught.  She told him that because of his encouragement, she had excelled academically and was now a school psychologist with a Master’s degree and an administrative certificate.  As Mother Theresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” 

So what can we do to stem the tide of hatred and violence in the world today? How can we make our corner of the world a better place? Here are just a few suggestions.  I leave it to you to suggest others. 


1.  We can recognize that we ourselves are the primary instigators of our anger and rage.  As the stoic philosopher Epictetus observed nearly two thousand years ago, “It is not he who give abuse that affronts, but the view that we take of it as insulting.”  Eleanor Roosevelt expressed this same insight when she wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  However, it is important to avoid falling into the trap of perfectionism.  All humans lose their tempers and behave poorly from time to time.  Even Epictetus admitted that after years of practice, he still occasionally fell prey to anger. 

2.  We can try to follow the Buddhist principle of right speech. Right speech means avoiding lies, deceit, slander, and malicious words.  Positively phrased, it means to tell the truth and to speak and write in a helpful way.  Anyone who makes a conscious effort to try this just for one week will notice a significant improvement in relationships with others and in one’s own mood. 
3. We can try to refrain from responding aggressively to the abusive language others fling our way.  When we anger ourselves over what others say, aren’t we bowing to the authority of those who vilify and condemn us?  Aren’t we taking their angry words much more seriously than they merit?

Does this mean that we should passively acquiesce and remain silent when verbally abused?  I do not believe that it does.  If people call you a “fucking idiot,” simply inform them that you will end the conversation if they continue to support their views with insults instead of facts.  Then give them a choice:  “Do you want to end the conversation now, or do you choose to discuss our differences in a civil manner?”  Should they choose to continue their harangue, walk away.  By ending the conversation, you will demonstrate that you are in charge.

4.  We can educate ourselves about the principles and practice of Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Beck’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Hundreds of empirical studies have shown their effectiveness in helping people overcome a host of emotional disturbances, including anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy, and guilt ((Lyons & Woods, 1991).  These therapeutic interventions have also been shown to be effective in reducing violence and aggression in schools (Wilde, 2002).  Books and articles about REBT and CBT are readily available online.  Out of a list of 1,000 self-help books, Dr. David D. Burns’ Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy was selected as the best self-help book ever written in a survey of mental health professionals (Burns, 1999).  Research conducted at the University of Alabama has shown that simply reading Dr. Burn’s book can be effective as undergoing a full course of psychotherapy (Burns, 2006).  

5. We can stop condemning our fellow human beings in toto.  While we can rate actions, we cannot assign global ratings to the personhoods of our fellow human beings or ourselves for several reasons.  First, to accurately judge another person in entirety, we would have to know every deed that person had done throughout his or her entire life.  How is that possible?  Second, we would have to be mind-readers who could see directly into a person’s motives.  As Buddha, Socrates, Jesus, Spinoza, and many other great thinkers have argued, evil deeds are done out of ignorance.  Third, even if someone repeatedly commits evil acts, so long as he lives, there is still time for repentance. Before composing the famous hymn “Amazing Grace”, John Newton earned his living as the captain of a slave ship.  But when he fully understood that his acts were wicked, he resigned, became a clergyman, and later wrote Thoughts upon the Slave Trade, which he sent to every member of the British Parliament.  He allied himself to William Wilberforce and helped abolish the slave trade in the British Empire.

6. We can help set an example of tolerance for others to follow.  Children learn tolerance, empathy, and kindness just like they learn to hate -- by observing the behavior of important adults in their lives.  When we show respect for diversity of opinion, reject stereotypical biases, refrain from globally rating other people for their bad behavior, appreciate cultural differences, and take an active interest in learning about the diversity of humankind, we help the younger generation understand that the world is enriched by a multiplicity of peoples just like a garden is enriched by a variety of flowers.

Will following these suggestions end the hatred and violence that pervades so many parts of the world?  Most likely, they will not.  But let us remember the old proverbs that say, “The perfect is the enemy of the good” and “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.  Like Voltaire’s Candide, let us cultivate our own gardens.  In this way, each one of us can make our small plot on this earth a better and happier place. 

References

Beck, A. T. (1976).  Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders.  New York: New American Library. 

Beck, A.T. (1999). Prisoners of hate. (1999). New York:  Harper Collins.

Burns, D. (1999).  Feeling good: The new mood therapy.  New York:  Harper Collins.

Burns, D. (2006).  When panic attacks:  The new-drug free anxiety therapy that can change your life.  New York:  Morgan Road Books. 

Chiune Sugihara (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara.

Conquest, R. (1986).  Harvest of sorrow. New York:  Oxford University Press.
Ellis, A. (1986).  Fanaticism that may lead to a nuclear holocaust:  The Contributiions of scientific counseling and psychotherapy.  Journal of Counseling and Development. Volume 65, 146-150.

Hauck, P. (1991).  Hold your head up high. London:  Sheldon Press.

KenseiTakesi (comment, 2012). Hymn of the Soviet Anthem. Retrieved September 30, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2-zzmCmMVI.

TheKingdomofGames. (comment, 2012). Diktatura – ejo kariai.  Retrieved September 29, 2012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pan7oToa3w&bpctr=1348925111.

Lyons, L. C., & Woods, P. J. (1991). The efficacy of rational-emotive therapy:  A quantitative review of outcome research.  Clinical Psychology Review, 11, 357-369.
Wilde, J. (2002). Anger management in schools:  Alternatives to student violence. Lanham, Maryland:  Scarecrow Education.

666MikeRochip. (comment, 2012). PA mufti:  Muslims will kill jews in the name of islam.  Retrieved September 29, 21012, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDoV8ZL9Xkc.

Category : Health & wellbeing
  • Boris Bakunas

    Thank for highlighting a key point in the article, Steve — how totalitarians confuse their belief-systems with their identities. Even scientists have a tendency to fall in love with their theories. Fortunately, they have the scientific method, the greatest problem-solving heuristic ever created, to fall back on. They also depend on empirical research to gather and present evidence. There are no absolutes in science.

    In contrast, fanatical religionists and ideologues rigidly maintain that their opinions represent absolute truth. They dogmatically insist that even scientific findings must fit their preconceived notions. Recent evidence from the Soviet archives has established how Stalin had Nikolai Vavilov, an eminent Soviet geneticist arrested, tortured, and murdered for questioning the views of Lysenko, whose wild claim that acquired characteristics would be passed on to further generations through heredity. Nazi scientists and physicians performed horrendous medical experiments on Jews and Roma (many of them children) in an effort to see if "Aryan characteristics" could be manufactured. Mengele injected methylne blue into patients eyes to try to change the brown eye color into blue

    In the United States today, many Christian fundamentalists are trying to ban the teaching of Evolution in public schools outright, or at least include their version of the origin of life in the curriculum.

    In Europe, extremist political parties are gaining new adherents. Just one example is Greece, where the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party won 21 seats in last March's parliamentary elections and the communist-dominated Syrizia nearly won control of the government.

    Also, thanks for mentioning "this mindset's rush to absolutism and a black and white world view." I see examples of it daily on Facebook and Youtube, where people rage against those who fail to share their opinions, resorting to insult and invective rather than reasoned debate.

    October 15 2012
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    • Steve B

      I think the sentence that highlights this totalitarian mindset the best is ", totalitarians confuse their belief-system as well as the symbols that represent their beliefs with their identities." Not only does this seem to be the linchpin of the mentality you describe, but also the basis of so much of the defensive vitriol espoused by otherwise kind, normal individuals. Be it politics, pride, or religion, when identity and belief are conflated the worst of a person can appear and I think you hit the nail on the head with both this sentence and this article with historical cases and this mindset's rush to absolutism and a black and white world view.

      I am also appreciative to see your closing theme of what can we do. So often clear analysis will highlight causes, problems, or weaknesses in our thinking but rarely is a well-composed counter solution offered. Rather than just hearing what is wrong it is a fantastic sign to see then a path as to how to make things right.

      Steve B.

      October 15 2012
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      • Boris Bakunas

        Lois,

        The brief summary of how Chiune Sugihara defied the direct orders of the Japanese government and issued transil visas to thousands of Polish and Lithuanians inspired me with hope and courage. I first learned about Mr. Sugihara on YouTube. Your gracious comment gave me the idea of checking if any books had been written about him. A quick glance at Google showed several books, including a 32- page book written for children. called "Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story" by Ken Mochizuki. It's written for children between grades 2 through 5.

        I will shortly order one of two books, "A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara: Hero of the Holocaust" by Alison Leslie Gold or "RIGHTEOUS AND COURAGEOUS: HOW A JAPANESE DIPLOMAT SAVED THOUSANDS OF JEWS IN LITHUANIA FROM THE HOLOCAUST" by Carl Steinhouse through Amazon.com after reading the reader reviews.

        My hope is that others read about and spread the story of Mr. Sugihara's heroism. It is through the example of others, whether in real life or through books and films, that we can begin to acquire the courage to act according to our consciences when circumstances demand.

        October 12 2012
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        • Lois S. Kirkey

          Boris–What an interesting article about the nature of totalitarianism, as seen in certain individuals and societies; and what solutions possibly exist for rendering such thoughts and behavior into rational, moral, and logical living. And why is it that one continues to see throughout written Western history, the tendency to aggrandizement and immoral, unwanted expansion? This trend has continued into the twentieth and now the twenty-first century.
          The examples that you give of how one person or act can have a crescendoing effect on many are impressive. I must say that I particularly enjoyed reading about the Japanese diplomat in Kaunas, and how his illicit-visa writing helped thousands of Jews to escape the dragnet placed upon them by the occupying Nazis . This is because of my background–I am a Litvak who is a 4th generation American. As such, my immediate family did not suffer the ravages of Hitler, having long ago escaped the ghettoes of Kaunas and emigrated to America. When "The Totalitarian Mindset" relates the story of the diplomat Chiune Sugihara and his wife issuing about 3400 exit visas to Jewish residents of Nazi-occupied Lithuania, they saved many lives. The descendants of the escaped Jews today number about 40,000. So you show how determined individuals can oppose tyrannical behavior and make a difference,
          that increases arithmetically.
          As the examples show, yours is an article well worth reading and suitable for usage in certain appropriate history and psychology classes. It is well-researched, and well-formulated to reveal an essence of contemporary human behavior.

          October 11 2012
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          • Jon Platakis

            How interesting that, from the dawn of time, we do not learn from history as it keeps repeating itself over and over. There always seems to be an over abundance of psychotic zealots somewhere in the world who would inflict their dogmas on the usually desperate masses. Perhaps, I may speak for all who have read the article, by saying how appreciative we all are to have a well defined article that will give us pause before we speak, write, or act out of negative emotion.

            October 10 2012
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            • Boris Bakunas

              To Jp Hochbaum:

              Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences as an experienced blogger and forum poster. They mirror my own.

              When I first started posting on Facebook, I was surprised at how short my temper was when I encountered opinions that challenged deeply-held beliefs that I thought were self-evident. Like you, I responded before my anger had time to cool. And all I accomplished was to provoke angry word from others, or in a few cases, got defriended and blocked.

              One happy exception was a Facebook friend who never defriended me no matter how many jibes I flung his way. He just kept coming back, and I began to respect him for his unusual hardiness. As we say in American, he knew how to dish it out, but he also knew how to take. But that is the exception. Your point about anger expressed breeding anger in return was much like the one I came to when I realized that nobody ever changed my mind about an issue by blaming and condemning me or a group I belonged to. So how can I expect to convince others by casting aspersions on them?

              Now I try to keep my comments within the bounds of civil discourse when engaged in a discussion. Does this mean that I try to keep all of my posts and comments objective. Hardly! As you know, in the United States we are engaged in an election year. So I often post political messages that are decidedly partisan. My purpose is not to convince those who fail to share my views, but to encourage those who do share them. Nevertheless, I do what I can to restrict my remarks to the content of what my Facebook friends say rather than attacking them as human beings.

              How right you are in pointing out that the opinions others form of us as a result of what we write are very hard to change. So I couldn't agree with you more when you write: "The most important thing in writing and posting is to attempt to learn from other people and to teach as well." Let me add that during the process of writing, we also create knowledge new to ourselves. Writing our ideas down requires us to clarify them. And when we go back and read what we have written, don't we often find lapses in judgment or foolish mistakes?

              Those of us who do change our views and opinions can count ourselves fortunate. For if we did not enlarge our understanding with the acquisition of new knowledge, we would stagnate.

              October 09 2012
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              • Boris Bakunas

                Rimantas,

                Your point about entire societies taking a totalitarian turn as a result of a complex dynamic is well-taken. Many factors seem to coalesce in order for totalitarian societies to emerge. Few doubt that Hitler would have ever attained power had it not been for economic hardships resulting from the stringent reparations imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty and the stock market crash of 1929 in the United States that caused many investors to call in German loans. Add to that the power struggle between German politicians like Von Sleicher and Von Papen, which Hitler was able to exploit. Neither would the Bolsheviks been able to seize power without the chaos resulting from World War I. Certainly, economic and political events play a major role in the ascent of totalitarian dictators.

                I did not mean to imply that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were psychotic. More likely, they were fanatic sociopaths who were willing to do anything to achieve power and impose their dogmatic, twisted philosophies on others.

                But neither could these totalitarian dictators gain absolute power without the support of others. In times of economic and political upheaval, many people search for "the man on the white horse" to rescue them only to learn that the horse he rides tramples millions underfoot.

                We are witnessing the gravest economic crisis in Western and Southern Europe since the Second World War. It is a dangerous time. Should the European Union collapse, who knows what the repercussions may follow. My guess, however, is that the European Union will endure and emerge more united, both economically and politically, than before the crisis began.

                October 08 2012
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                • Rimantas Aukstuolis

                  Boris
                  I couldn't agree more. However, your well put commentary clearly addresses individual actions and attitudes regarding the ways to control aggression, violence, hatred etc. Obviously, society is made up of individuals and one would surmise that if individuals could better control such impulses, society would be better off. I think there is a different dynamic operating, however, when societies and the body politic gets 'out of whack" and takes a totalitarian turn. Hitler, Stalin and Mao (to name only a few recent prominent prototypes) I don't think, were necessarily psychotic killers like Breivik although the results were many times more horrific. Considering leaders of bloody minded mass political movements as psychopaths may blind us to the development of societal psychopathy and political extremism, which may be a different (albeit related) phenomenon.

                  October 08 2012
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                  • JP Hochbaum

                    As someone who has a fascination with psychology and other social sciences I found this article very true to how I try to practice living in general.

                    For many years I was a frequent blogger and forum poster on Myspace and was frequently posting in anger and other combative type emotions. I found that posting in that way had many negative consequences. It brought discussions away from the topic, caused my posts to be tainted by a negative previous history, and in the end my learning process and the learning process of others was stunted. Luckily I was able to change this style and behavior and I started to see a more positive response to my writings, and this article reminds me of the type of changes I implemented (particularly items 1-3)

                    When people respond to anything in anger or other emotions it generally creates another emotional response. As soon as this occurs it creates an emotional divide, and things start to divert from the topic and even worse it diverts from logic. When I started my evolution in writing style I noticed that my writing improved and that the responses to my writing improved in many ways as well. People were more positive responsive, respectful and more open to discussion. Whereas, before this change, the majority of responses were terse, negative, and it caused topic dilution. When you rely on logic and being nice people will respond in the same way.
                    Because of the several years of posting with emotion it created a large uphill battle to get people who knew me from my previous writings to understand that I was changing my style. There are still people who think I am very emotional in my postings because of how I was writing in the past. I will probably have to battle that persona for a while, and it taught me to never go back to that way because it makes it very difficult to remove that persona of me. I think because of the emotional past people tend to remember that more than they do my most recent posting and writing style. The lessons of growing up and maturing keep coming up in life.
                    The most important thing in writing and posting is to attempt to learn from other people and to teach as well. That aspect of writing was being lost to me, and to others. Creating anger divides people and will cause people to not learn another person’s position, it is in essence what has created this partisan turmoil we see today. Both sides of the aisle are seemingly unwilling to discuss issues before resorting to anger and emotion. It has caused a deadlock in passing bills and a congressional approval rating that is at its lowest in history.
                    I have heard in the past that our legislative branch was more willing to talk to each other because they had lived near each other, which forced them to be nice to each other. This is no longer the case today, they live away from each other and only see each other a few times a year, so why be nice to each other? I haven’t been able to verify if the legislative branch was required to live in DC in the past, but the point remains that if they were to converse more they would be forced to be more civil to each other, no one wants an angry neighbor, they want to barbeque together and say “hi” to each other when walking down the street.

                    October 08 2012
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                    • Boris Bakunas

                      Thank you for your gracious words, Kestutis. I am very glad that you liked the article "The Totalitarian Mindset." My hope was that its message would find the perfect home in Vilnews, an e-publication with a worldwide readership and a policy of continuing to act as an outspoken voice for democracy, freedom of expression, and a renewed Lithuania that faces the future with courage and determination. I look forward to an opportunity to speak to you by phone, or perhaps in person if we are ever in Lithuania at the same time.

                      October 07 2012
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