A central element in understanding totalitarianism is the role of ideology. The difficulty with “ideology” is that it is another one of those words with a number of different connotations, ranging from “a set of ideas/beliefs” to “a closed-minded, unquestioning system of lockstep obedience.” Obviously, there can be problems with an ideology. It can be wrong on various points of fact, it may not permit much introspection or critique, and, perhaps most damaging, it can expand too far. Theoretically at least, these types of problems could arise in any type of ideology. Human beings often assume that if something is good in one area, it should therefore be good in all areas, and the more of it the better. As the name “totalitarian” implies, there is a strong element of totalism within these ideologies. “Totalism” means that the ideology – at least in theory – touches on every aspect of human life.