Totalitarianism, COVID-19 ideology | Desmet P.2

Dec 9, 2022 | 0 comments

the public: beaten down into helplessness, obedience, and apathy

In this essay, I continue my response to Peter and Ginger Breggins’ repudiation of Mattias Desmet and The Psychology of Totalitarianism, a book I found insightful and encouraging.

Essentially, the Breggins put forward the theory that the Covid response resembles the psychology of abuse, with the leaders implementing their damaging policies for political reasons. Even further, the public had been emotionally beaten down into helplessness, obedience, and apathy.

Psychologically, however, this model better fits traditional forms of tyranny, such as a dictatorship.

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, it is instructive to note that political theorist Hannah Arendt stresses the significant difference between totalitarianism and other forms of tyranny. She notes that

“…totalitarian rule confronts us with a totally different kind of government ” (1), and “our bewilderment about the anti-utilitarian character of the totalitarian state structure springs from the mistaken notion that we are dealing with a normal state after all- a bureaucracy, a tyranny, a dictatorship…” (2) and “The inability of the non-totalitarian world to grasp a mentality which functions independently of all calculable action in terms of men and material, and is completely indifferent to national interests and the well-being of its people… .” (3) 

Hannah Arend

She notes that totalitarianism represents,

“…an entirely new and unprecedented concept of power…an entirely new and unprecedented concept of reality.”(4) She also stresses the role of ideology in totalitarianism, and “their unwavering faith in an ideological fictitious world.”(5)

Hannah Arendt

Nazi, Stalinist, Covid-19 tyranny was a movement of the masses

Rather than a takeover by a strong man, Hannah Arendt observed that Nazi and Stalinist totalitarianism was a movement of the masses, with a complex psychological dynamic between the masses and the leader. Mattias Desmet also describes totalitarian movements, including the Covid response, as a more organic phenomenon. He notes,

“The leader himself is entranced by the effects he produces in the crowd. Between the psychological condition of the masses and their leaders, there is a kind of circular causality: They hypnotize one another.”(6)

Mattias Desmet

Desmet further expounds on leaders and ideology, saying, “He blindly believes in the ideology he is trying to impose but not in the discourse he uses to promote it. He believes so fanatically in his ideology that he considers it justified to limitlessly manipulate, lie, and deceive to realize that ideology.”(7)

mechanistic worldview explained

While Mattias Desmet’s explanation of mass formation, in regards to the Covid phenomenon, is an invaluable help, his exploration of ideology proves a rare gem. He succinctly describes the beliefs of a mechanistic worldview that ascended during the Enlightenment, saying,

“This ideology sees the universe as a logically knowable, predictable, controllable, and undirected mechanical process. And above all, it sees the universe as a dead and meaningless given, as the blind, mechanistic interaction between dead, elementary particles.”(8)

Mattias Desmet

This mechanistic ideology underlies the worldview of science, yet, Desmet beautifully shows how many eminent scientists reached the conclusion that the world cannot be truly comprehended by rational thought. In a different vein, Desmet shows how science has devolved from an open-minded mode of inquiry to an ideology. He also raises awareness of the fallibility of science and scientists, with the thalidomide tragedy serving as a powerful reminder of how profound harm can and does occur without the intent to harm.

psychology of totalitarianism – sample audiobook

Listen to a Sample of this Book!

I’ve only given the barest outline of Desmet’s exploration of our mechanistic ideology, our cultural belief in a mechanical world that we assume we can know unfailingly through rational thought, and manipulate to our benefit through science. But indeed, we all recognize these beliefs, even those who never before articulated them as discrete concepts worthy of examination.

Culture shapes our perceptions and expectations

Foundational cultural beliefs warrant our attention, though all too rarely receive it. Like the proverbial fish, who do not recognize that they live in water, we regard these beliefs and concepts as so self-evident and unquestionable, that we rarely recognize and articulate them, much less question them. Only when they are articulated do we start seeing them at play in our lives and our culture. They shape our perceptions and expectations. They guide the course of history.

Mattias Desmet powerfully explores the consequences of our mechanistic ideology and shows us how it ultimately leads to totalitarianism. It is a message well worth considering, and well worth heeding. Rather than seeing our current crisis as the plans of a few, fathomed out of thin air, we can see how transhumanism and technocracy are the farthest reaches of our mechanistic worldview. Looking at the shared cultural ideology adds to our understanding of how the Covid response measures garnered such a high degree of enthusiasm and compliance.

Freedom Coalition and Health Freedom Movement, Vilified by the dominant group

Whether or not you agree with Mattias Desmet’s ideas, they are ideas worth considering. They add to our ability to understand and respond effectively to our current crisis. I urge the Breggins to reconsider their harsh and unfounded accusations. Nothing in Mattias Desmet’s book suggests that he is trying to hobble the freedom movement or “curry favor with the elites.” Indeed, his book lacks any mention of totalitarianism, and nothing within his book would inspire anyone to give up working for freedom and sanity.

We in the freedom movement would do well to remember that we are a very diverse group of people. Desmet refers to this diversity in his book, and I have found it to be true in my local Freedom Coalition and in the people and views expressed in the alternative media. We come from very different political and social backgrounds and a wide range of professions and life experiences.

Diversity, civility, and open minds will prevail

This diversity is fascinating and helpful as we all try to understand and navigate this complex and confounding experience. Considering how we have been vilified by the dominant group, I urge all of us to remain civil and open-minded with each other. I thank Mattias Desmet for enriching my understanding of the world. His sincerely given insights are a gift to the freedom movement.

Read Part #1 | COVID: Defense of Mattias Desmet | “psycho totalitarianism”


  • (1) Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1979, pg. 461
  • (2) Arendt, pg. 411
  • (3) Arendt, pg. 419
  • (4) Arendt, pg. 417
  • (5) Arendt, pg. 417
  • (6) Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, of. 110
  • (7) Desmet, pg. 110
  • (8) Desmet, pg. 148


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *