Monday, March 9, 2015
Totalitarian Government Today and in the Hunger Games
It is possible for us to have totalitarian regimes in today's time due to several government strategies and economical, political, and social factors. We have had totalitarian regimes such as Stalin's regime, oppressive regimes in the Middle East (like Libya), and Hitler's regime. These real life examples can be related to President Snow's ruling in the Hunger Games, as well as President Coin's ruling.
Characteristics of totalitarian regimes include "antidemocratic actions," political and economical rule by the elite, monopolistic control of mass media, military forces and weapons, and policies of systematic violence and terror against those depicted as enemies. Terror tactics are used to oppress the rights of the common people who rebel. Propoganda is shown to the citizens of the regime, brainwashing many into being desensitized to their oppressive situation. Governments of totalitarian regimes try to "keep a close eye" on the people of their country/region. One way the U.S. has witnessed this governmental control is with the passing of the Patriot Act, the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, and the Total Informational Awareness Act.
The Hunger Games Companion says five key factors lead to rebellions in the Hunger Games, and often in real life. The first factor is that the majority of the population is extremely frustrated and unhappy with the government. In many real life situations, and in Panem, the government uses their power to keep the elite class in a better situation than the majority of the population. This wealth disparity is evident in the Capitol's wealth compared to the poverty of the districts. The unfair conditions are also present in the U.S. as indicated by our huge wealth disparity: 1-10% of people own 90% of the nation's wealth. However, America has a defined middle class that does well enough, but is not rich; Panem seems to be more deeply divided: the Capitol's luxury vs the districts struggling for food. These environmental conditions along with Snow's use of Peacekeepers and violence to maintain order, and the Hunger Games are characteristic of oppression in totalitarian regimes.
The second factor is that the majority of the population (regardless of social or economic class) agrees that the only solution to their issues is to overthrow the government. Another factor of rebellion is support for the rebellion by intellectuals and the upper class. In the Hunger Games, some of the Capitol citizens join the rebel cause. In order for rebellions to succeed, a crisis must prevent the regime from using oppressive force to tame the people. Major rebellions may also become a definite action if other countries do not intervene to help the oppressed population.