What Megan and Daniel said. I would only add that there's an apples and oranges element involved in this comparison: The term "theocracy" describes who rules (the ecclesiastical authorities, standing in for God), whereas the term "totalitarianism" describes how the state rules (by seeking "to subordinate all aspects of the individual's life to the authority of the government," to borrow Britannica's phrasing). Thus one can imagine both totalitarian and non-totalitarian theocracies; the latter have been the historical rule, though as Larison notes, "historically theocratic governments ruled states that were not especially administratively effective, nor were they powerful enough to enforce their restrictions with the kind of thoroughgoing interference of the modern totalitarian state." Which is to say that given power enough and time, the Taliban might have established a tyranny as dreadfully pervasive as Kim Jong Il's. Still, at the very least one might suggest that anyone who would prefer Nazi Germany or contemporary North Korea to, say, the 18th-century Papal States or Puritan Massachusetts on the grounds that the latter would be more likely to insist that "it’s not enough to obey the rules, you have to believe in them, too," should perhaps consult a history book or two and reconsider.

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