Difference Between Communism and Totalitarianism (With Table)

Communism and Totalitarianism are both different ideologies or ideological principles on how a government should be operated. The political and economic ideologies of communism and totalitarianism are distinct. Although some people link Communism and Totalitarianism, the two ideologies are significantly different. 

Communism vs Totalitarianism 

The difference between Communism and Totalitarianism is that Totalitarianism is a system in which the state controls everything, and there is no value for an individual’s opinion. The term implies total control. On the other hand, Communism is an ideology that believes in a classless or stateless society. The term does not imply total control.  

A political ideology that believes in a classless and stateless society is Communism. The communist movement opposes the unjust exploitation of the masses by a few wealthy individuals. The concept of social equality and equality of standard of living is based on the belief that all people in society are equal. The government is left-wing, and it believes in equal ownership of everything.  

The concept of totalitarianism is one individual’s rule, who has no obligations to laws or constitutions and is not accountable to anyone. Absolute dictators select officers of their choice and run the affairs of their states. Totalitarianism is a state-run system with no respect for individual thoughts or opinions. 

Comparison Table Between Communism and Totalitarianism 

  Parameters of Comparison   Communism  Totalitarianism 
 Concept   Believes in classless and stateless society.  Individual’s rule without any obligations to laws and constitutions.  
 Absolute rule   Does not promote absolute rule or total control.  Signifies absolute rule or total control. 
 Individual opinion   The community takes all the major decisions.   No value for an individual’s thoughts or opinions. 
 Government   Left-wing  Right-wing 
 Ownership   Believes in common or equal ownership of everything.   Believes in state ownership. 

What is Communism? 

A political ideology that believes in a classless and stateless society is Communism. Communism opposes the unjust exploitation of the masses by a few wealthy individuals. It does not advocate total state control. They believe in equal and common ownership of everything. It has a left-wing government. 

In communism, society is viewed as a whole, and important decisions are made as a community. Societies have free reign under communism. According to communists, the community or society is the sole owner of resources or production means. The concept of social equality and equality of standard of living is based on the belief that all people in society are equal.  

According to the individual’s abilities, everyone must contribute and work to improve society, and the government is responsible for meeting their needs. It was introduced to counter capitalism. Communists tend to believe that capitalism only protects the rights of a few privileged individuals. The critics of communism, however, assert that it is a non-sustainable system of government since the citizens are not motivated to work hard. 

What is Totalitarianism? 

The concept of Totalitarianism is one individual’s rule, who has no obligations to laws or constitutions and is not accountable to anyone. Totalitarianism implies total control. It is a state of absolute power. In this system, the state controls everything, and individual thoughts and opinions are worthless. It has a right-wing government. 

The term Totalitarianism can also be used to describe authoritarianism or monarchy as individuals do not participate in the decision-making process. As a system, Totalitarianism believes in state ownership. Under Totalitarianism, the state is the sole owner of all resources. Furthermore, it even controls the beliefs and values of society and interferes with the private lives of individuals.  

Absolute dictators select officers of their choice and run the affairs of their states. In the modern world, the majority of totalitarian governments result from military dictatorships. Media freedom and free expression are limited in this form of government, and criticizing a dictator is prohibited. Nazi Germany was notoriously totalitarian. 

Main Differences Between Communism and Totalitarianism 

  1. A political ideology that believes in a classless and stateless society is Communism. On the other hand, the concept of Totalitarianism is one individual’s rule, who has no obligations to laws or constitutions and is not accountable to anyone. 
  2. Communism does not advocate total state control. On the other hand, Totalitarianism implies total control. 
  3. Communism has a left-wing government, whereas, Totalitarianism has a right-wing government. 
  4. Communism believes in equal and common ownership of everything. On the other hand, Totalitarianism believes in absolute ownership of the state. 
  5. In communism, society is viewed as a whole, and important decisions are made as a community. On the other hand, in Totalitarianism, the state controls everything, and individual thoughts and opinions are worthless. 

Conclusion 

Communism and Totalitarianism are both different ideologies or ideological principles on how a government should be operated. The political and economic ideologies of communism and totalitarianism are distinct. Although some people link Communism and Totalitarianism, the two ideologies are significantly different. 

In communism, society is viewed as a whole, and important decisions are made as a community. Societies have free reign under communism. According to communists, the community or society is the sole owner of resources or production means. The concept of social equality and equality of standard of living is based on the belief that all people in society are equal. Communism was introduced to counter capitalism. 

The term Totalitarianism can also be used to describe authoritarianism or monarchy as individuals do not participate in the decision-making process. As a system, Totalitarianism believes in state ownership. Under Totalitarianism, the state is the sole owner of all resources. Furthermore, it even controls the beliefs and values of society and interferes with the private lives of individuals. Nazi Germany was notoriously totalitarian. 

The main difference between Communism and Totalitarianism is that the former believes in common and equal ownership of everything, whereas the latter beliefs in absolute ownership of the state.  

References 

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/hith.12040 
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1852269 
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