Totalitarianism, Perfection, and Oppression
“Totalitarianism is not only hell, but also the dream of paradise — the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from one another. … If totalitarianism did not exploit these archetypes, which are deep inside us all and rooted deep in all religions, it could never attract so many people, especially during the early phases of its existence. Once the dream of paradise starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way, and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect, while the adjoining paradise gets ever smaller and poorer.”
In an interview by Philip Roth, published in the New York Times, 30 Nov 1980.