Ideology and Terror - Part Two Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Arendt begins the second part of her essay by defining “lawful government.” A lawful government is the organization of people into a body that can create laws that can be recognized as right or wrong by individuals. In totalitarian governments, that stability is replaced by total terror—constant, escalating warfare of the government against the citizens that is carried out by the citizens themselves. Terror is not just a means of suppressing political opposition, though that is certainly one of its effects. Terror becomes total once all opposition has been destroyed, and it becomes a tool of upheaval and destruction for its own sake.

In this light, the ultimate purpose of terror is to destroy individual resistance to the "higher law," whether of History or Nature. Enemies of the state are not criminals, in the sense that they have committed an infraction for...

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This section contains 1,461 words
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