The final stage on the road to unfreedom is totalitarianism. To Ilyin, the thinker who inspired Putin and many of his supporters,  this was nothing to fear since it accorded with their vision of the final stage. According to Timothy Snyder, Ilyin’s final vision is as follows:


The vision was a totalitarian one. We should long for a condition in which we think and feel as one, which means not to think and feel at all. We must cease to exist as individual human beings. “Evil begins,” Ilyin wrote, “where the person begins.” Our very individuality only proves that the world is flawed: “the empirical fragmentation of human existence is an incorrect, a transitory and metaphysically untrue condition of the world.”  Ilyin despised the middle classes, whose civil society and private life, he thought, kept the world broken and God at bay.


The key ingredient I would suggest is not to think.  The sleep of reason brings forth monsters, as Goya said, and the leading monster is fascism or totalitarianism it’s bigger meaner brother.


Yet the road of totalitarianism is never without bumps. Even in Russia which has a lot of experience with totalitarianism. As Snyder said, “Totalitarianism is its own true enemy, and that is the secret it keeps from itself by attacking others.” This is what we now see in Ukraine. That is why what is happening in Ukraine right now is so important. Ukrainians are heroically resisting, but totalitarianism is on the line in Ukraine. That is why we should all be taking it so seriously. This is more than a war. We should all be paying attention. 



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