“The essential principle of totalitarianism is to make laws that are impossible to obey. The resulting tyranny is even more impressive if it can be enforced by a privileged caste or party which is highly zealous in the detection of error. Most of humanity, throughout its history, has dwelt under a form of this stupefying dictatorship, and a large portion of it still does. Allow me to give a few examples of the rules that must, yet cannot, be followed.” (God is Not Great, p.212)
Hitchens then cites the biblical command forbidding people to even think about coveting goods. I’m not sure there is a command not to even think about it, but the principle is certainly there. The New Testament certainly echoes this with its injunction which says that to even look on a woman in the wrong way is to actually already have committed adultery.
There can only be two possible responses to such commands: (more…)