Detecting Totalitarian Ideologies on Independence Day 2020

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“Soft power” systems to justify the accumulation of hard power, disarming victims and providing cover for abusers.

 Today is July 4th, 2020, Independence Day in the United States. I’m going to a cook-out today as soon as I finish this video, so I’m dressed in my picnic clothes. America is on edge today. We are seeing increasing restrictions to try to control the coronavirus. We are seeing rioting in the streets and the destruction of monuments.

We don’t feel like “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Independence Day is a good day to reflect on totalitarian ideologies. How can we tell the difference between the government making legitimate use of its power to protect the common good, and the arbitrary illegitimate use of that power? How can we distinguish calls for reform and calls for revolution? These are not theoretical academic questions. The future of our way of life depends on getting this right.

There are many totalitarian ideologies circulating right now. We seem to be uniquely vulnerable to them at this moment in history. I will give you the keys to understanding them. I will give you a pattern for you to watch for. We can apply this pattern to all sorts of situations.  It applies to understanding how different public authorities are treating the coronavirus pandemic. We can apply the pattern to communism or Nazism or the current spate of rioters in our country. I will tell you though, that I first discovered this pattern in my study of the Sexual Revolution.

Ready? Here we go.

Step one: the potential tyrant proposes a utopian ideal. Heaven on earth. Something that sounds appealing but is utterly impossible to achieve.


“We must eliminate the coronavirus! No one must get sick!” Impossible.

By contrast, we could take the attitude:

“We must reduce the number of cases of coronavirus.” That is quite possible and laudable. Everyone wants that.

Here is another example:

“We must make the police more accountable for their misconduct.”  Quite possible. Everyone wants that. Contrast that with:

“We must not tolerate even a single instance of police brutality!” Not possible in this fallen world. There will always be some misconduct in any profession. Some of it quite horrible.

The utopian dream of the communists is a Heaven on Earth, a Workers’ Paradise, of perfect economic and social equality.

The utopian dream of the Sexual Revolution is a nirvana of unlimited sex, where no one ever gets hurt.

Here is how these utopian dreams morph into totalitarian ideologies. The process has these five elements:

  1. The Heaven on Earth, utopian dream, the dreamscape, the fantasy.
  2. A Savior Class who can make this dream a reality, if only
  3. They have enough power. Doing the impossible requires a lot of power. So the Savior Class requires unlimited power to bring about the fantasy dreamscape. But even with lots of power, they can’t really do the impossible. So they must fill the society with
  4. Unlimited propaganda. The propaganda keeps people convinced that the dream is possible and desirable. Yet, since the Dreamscape never fully materializes, the propaganda focuses people’s minds on the importance of doing even more and giving even more power to the Savior Class. The propaganda diverts attention from the problems that trying to do the impossible is causing. And finally, and very importantly, the propaganda must turn people’s attention to the
  5. Scapegoat Class. The Dreamscape will never materialize, no matter how much power and propaganda the Savior Class is permitted to have. So they need someone to blame. The development of a Scapegoat Class is an inevitable result of any Fantasy Ideology. If you think about it, every totalitarian ideology you can think of, has had a Scapegoat Class. The Communists had their kulaks and rich peasants and crypto capitalists. The Nazis had their Jews. The Sexual Revolutionaries scapegoat Christians hold-outs who refuse to go along with their fantasy ideology. “If only those stupid Christians would stop making everyone feel guilty! Then we could have all the sex we want and every child would be a wanted child and no one would be hurt or even inconvenienced and no one would ever be sexually abused!” And so on.

So this is what I want you to be on the look-out for today, on Independence Day 2020. When someone promises you Heaven on Earth, don’t take the bait. That is the source, the beginning of an endless stream of problems that lead to the centralization of power in the hands of a Savior Class. The Savior Class who promised to bring you the Impossible Dream will sooner or later, become the Ruling Class.

Totalitarian ideologies are “soft power” systems to justify the accumulation of hard power. These ideas disarm their victims and provide cover for abusers.

Now, I will be talking about this, and strategies for dealing with it at the Ruth Institute’s 3rd Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles Louisiana July 17-18, 2020. I will go into the most detail about this at our Ambassador’s Training Program on July 17 which is an application-only program. By the time you see this, it might be too late to apply for the Ambassadors Program. But you might be able to come to the Summit itself or catch it on-line.

In the meantime, think of this on Independence Day. The Founders of our country had no illusions that they were going to create Heaven on Earth. They were not ideologues. They were not indulging in Magical Thinking. They didn’t believe the political structures they were establishing would solve all problems for all time. They were Christian men, living in a culture that was already built on Christian principles. The Founders of our country knew very well that perfection is not possible in this fallen world.

If we are going to preserve the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, we must be on the lookout for totalitarian Ideologies.

And the first step? The utopian dream. The key to protecting yourself and your posterity is this: If someone offers you Heaven on Earth, don’t take the bait. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t either good or true.

I’m Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. I’ll see you at the Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles Louisiana July 17-18.

This is the text of a chat recorded on July 4, 2020. 


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