Lord of the Flies

by Sam Pivirotto

What is a Totalitarian Government?

Totalitarian - of or relating to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life. (Dictionary)


Totalitarianism, form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual’s life to the authority of the government. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini coined the term totalitario in the early 1920s to describe the new fascist state of Italy, which he further described as: “All within the state, none outside the state, none against the state.” By the beginning of World War II, “totalitarian” had become synonymous with absolute and oppressive single-party government.

In the broadest sense, totalitarianism is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression. Examples of such centralized totalitarian rule include the Maurya dynasty of India (c. 321–c. 185 bc), the Ch’in dynasty of China (221–206 bc), and the reign of Zulu chief Shaka (c. 1816–28). The totalitarian states of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (1933–45) and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin (1924–53) were the first examples of decentralized or popular totalitarianism, in which the state achieved overwhelming popular support for its leadership. This support was not spontaneous; its genesis depended on a charismatic leader; and it was made possible only by modern developments in communication and transportation.(Britannica)


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Jack's Tribe

The way that Jack's tribe functions parallels that of a totalitarian government. In Jack's tribe his opinion is the only one that matters. Everyone else's opinion means nothing. Jack stays in power by keeping his people afraid of the beast and by showing that he isn't afraid. "Before the party had started, a great log had been dragged into the center of the lawn and Jack, painted and garlanded, sat there like an idol."(p. 149, ch. 9) Jack had become their god because he could provide meat and protect them from the beast.

What is a Democratic Government?

Democracy - government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.(Dictionary)

Democracies did not originate with the founding of the United States. The term "democracy" comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and ""kratia" (power or authority). So of course democracy is a form of government that gives power to the people. But how, when, and to which people? The answer to those questions changes through history.

Democracies are based on "rule of law." The ancient Greeks (particularly Aristotle) valued natural law, the notion that human societies should be governed by ethical principles found in nature. The Greeks are famous for practicing direct democracy, a system in which citizens meet to discuss all policy, and then make decisions by majority rule. However, only free males were considered to be citizens. So their democracy was certainly limited. Today direct democracy is practiced in New England town meetings, where all citizens of voting age meet to decide important political decisions.(ushistory)



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Ralph's Tribe

The way that Ralph's tribe functions parallels that of a democratic government. Everyone in his tribe has an equal opportunity to present their problems or concerns. In Ralph's tribe whoever has the conch can speak. Ralph never put anyone down for voicing their opinion. "I got the conch!" (p. 83, ch. 5) Piggy had the conch so he was able to speak. He was allowed to speak but he was often put down for doing so, mostly by Jack.

Most Common Types of Government in the World

1. Democracy

We often hear the United States referred to as a democracy. Indeed, many refer to the U.S. as a representative democracy. A democracy in a more traditional sense is a political system that allows for each individual to participate. There are two rather popular types of democracy:

  • Direct Democracy: Many scholars point to Athens as an example of direct democracy. Technically, every citizen has an equal say in the workings of government. (The qualifications for being considered a citizen are completely different.) Citizens could show up at a meeting, and then directly participate in the governing process, and the process of making laws.
  • Representative Democracy: In a representative democracy set-up, citizens elect representatives who actually make the law. The United States operates similarly to this principle. Citizens elect legislators who, in turn, make laws. In the U.S., even the president isn’t elected directly; representatives called electors make the decision (although designated electors usually vote according to the wishes of the citizens in their states).

Other types of democracy include versions known as deliberative democracy, in which citizens approach decision making by considering different viewpoints and options, as well as democratic socialism, in which citizens help make decisions or vote for policies that are socialistic in nature. There are other types of democracy as well. The defining characteristic is some level of citizen participation in the political system



2. Republic


In theory, a republic is a political system in which the government remains mostly subject to those governed. Some scholars define any political system in which the citizens legitimize the government. As such, some (including Montesquieu) consider the U.S. a republic. Indeed, there are those that believe that any form of government that is not based on heritage or authoritarian governance. In some cases, a representative democracy (or any form of democracy) might be considered a republic. Some of the types of republics that you might see include:

  • Crowned (a constitutional monarchy might be considered a crowned republic)
  • Single Party
  • Capitalist
  • Federal (the United States is often referred to as a federal republic)
  • Parliamentary


The main characteristic of a republic is that the government is subject to the people, and leaders can be recalled. Some even make the argument that an oligarchy, which is rule by a few citizens, or a group of citizens, is a form of republic, since the government is subject to some of the wishes of some of the governed.


3. Monarchy


When most of us think of a monarchy, we think of the political systems of medieval European countries. In a monarchy, a ruler is not usually chosen by the voice of the people or their representatives. Often a monarch is the head of state until he or she abdicates or until death. In many cases a monarch is the final word in government. There may be functionaries to make decisions and run the political system, but the monarch has discretion with the laws, and how they are enforced.


However, as with other political systems, there are different types of monarchies. The type that many of us think of as common is the absolute monarchy, in which the monarch truly has the ultimate say in matters of government. However, most monarchies in political systems today do not follow this method. Many of them, especially in the developed world, have limits. Constitutional monarchies fall into this category (and are sometimes considered republics as well). In this type of monarchy, the ruler is the head of state, but a constitution limits the power, and others make laws. The U.K., Denmark, Kuwait, Spain, Sweden, Tuvalu, and many more are examples of constitutional monarchies.

Other types of monarchies include duchies, grand duchies, elective monarchy (where the monarch is actually elected), and non-sovereign monarchy.


4. Communism


In most cases, a communist state is based on the ideology of communism as taught by Marx and/or Lenin. However, some argue that these political systems are not true to the ideals espoused by these revolutionary thinkers. Communist states are often dominated by a single party, or a group of people. A planned economy is often part of the governing class, and in many cases resources are taken and then redistributed to others, at the top of the system. Sometimes communists call themselves “workers’ states” or “socialist,” but there are very real differences in their operation. In a lot of cases, citizens are required to do certain jobs, or have some of their life decisions — especially concerning where they can live and what jobs they can do. Communism is often considered an authoritarian political system.


5. Dictatorship


Another authoritarian form of government is the dictatorship. Normally, a dictator is the main individual ruling the country. While there are lackeys and others who work for the dictator, he or she makes most of the decisions, and usually has enforcers. In some cases, the political system is run by a small group of people. Dictators are not restricted by constitutions or parliaments. The governed are usually not consented in any way. Elections held are usually affairs in which the dictator is the only candidate.


One of the more common types of dictatorship is the military dictatorship, in which a military organization governs, running the political system. Sometimes, the military just exerts a great deal of pressure on the government, running the country de facto. In many cases, very few benefit from the decisions made in a dictatorship.(politcal)

My Island Government

My island would have a federal republic like the United States.
Constitution of my island:
  1. A leader will be elected by majority vote
  2. People that help the leader on tasks will also be elected
  3. All people will be assigned tasks that are fitting of their ability
  4. Not contributing to the survival of the group will result in an expulsion from the group
  5. Anyone who does any wrongdoing will have consequences
  6. If anyone is unable to complete a task due to physical condition they will be reassigned
  7. If the power figure become tyrannical they will be taken out of office
  8. If outsiders are found they will be allowed to join our island as long as they contribute to the group
  9. If it is necessary it is acceptable to kill another out of defense
  10. Murder will result in execution

Sri Lankan Civil War

Sri Lanka has been scarred by a long and bitter civil war arising out of ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority in the northeast.

After more than 25 years of violence the conflict ended in May 2009, when government forces seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. But recriminations over abuses by both sides continue.

The island fell under Portuguese and Dutch influence after the 16th century, and Britain began its conquest in the 1790s.

Historic Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of Sri Lankan Buddhism's most revered sites

There was a long-established Tamil minority in the north and east, and Britain also brought in Tamil labourers to work the coffee and tea plantations in the central highlands. This made the island, then called Ceylon, a major tea producer.

The majority Buddhist Sinhalese resented what they saw as British favoritism towards the mainly-Hindu Tamils.

The growth of assertive Sinhala nationalism after independence fanned the flames of ethnic division, and civil war erupted in the 1980s against Tamils pressing for self-rule.

Most of the fighting took place in the north. But the conflict also penetrated the heart of Sri Lankan society, with Tamil Tiger rebels carrying out devastating suicide bombings in the capital Colombo in the 1990s.

The violence killed more than 70,000 people, damaged the economy and harmed tourism in one of South Asia's potentially most prosperous societies.

International concern was raised about the fate of civilians caught up in the conflict zone during the final stages of the war, the confinement of some 250,000 Tamil refugees to camps for months afterwards, and allegations that the government had ordered the execution of captured or surrendering rebels.

A UN report published in 2011 said both sides in the conflict committed war crimes against civilians. The Sri Lankan government rejected this and later reports as biased.

In September 2013 the main Tamil opposition party won a convincing victory in elections to a devolved provincial council in the north, which was set up after constitutional talks with the government. Commonwealth observers reported army intimidation of voters.(BBC)

Works Cited

"democracy." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 30 Apr. 2015.

"Political Science Degree." Political Science Degree RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.

"Sri Lanka Country Profile - Overview - BBC News." BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.

"Sri Lanka Country Profile - Overview - BBC News." BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 01 May 2015.

"totalitarian." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 30 Apr. 2015.

"Totalitarianism | Government." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.

"What Is a Democracy?" Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, n.d. Web. 01 May 2015.