Totalitarianism is the ideology that the state should be in total control of everything that happens within the state. Generally, it is a term used to refer to an opponent who is either a strong dictator, or more generally, proposes authoritarian policies. For example, Saddam Hussein's Iraq might be referred to as a regime based on totalitarianism, and a particularly onerous provision of the Patriot Act might also be referred to a totalitarian in character.
While totalitarianism is generally denounced, occassionally a commentator will note that in Mussolini's Italy (a facist regime) "the trains ran on time.", or in the more common recent observation, that strong totalitarian regimes seem to have fewer incidents of terrorism than flawed democracies that are not entirely totalitarian.