Yeah, he was a socialist.

cropped-libertyI am just about to up trying to convince people that most of the various -isms are divisive bunk, and that, really, the spectrum of -isms from authoritarianism to libertarianism boil down to a very simple principle: primacy of the state, versus primacy of the individual.

But let us at the very least put to rest the idea that Nazis weren’t socialists.

First of all, they called themselves socialists!  The Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei, NSDAP or National Socialist German Workers’ Party claimed to be an anti-capitalist, socialist party, and its party platform certainly reflected that.  But I’ve been told many times that what they called themselves and how they acted and what they said was not real socialism, so…

Here is a ten-year-old article, which is, I think, just about the correct distance from the present to be more clearly separated from today’s tribal hysteria and concomitant “Democratic Socialism” blindness.

The core argument is that Hitler called himself a socialist of a sort derived from Marx, and that his deviation from the USSR’s variety of socialism (“Jewish Marxism” in Hitler’s words) was in two key forks that made it, in Hitler’s opinion (as well as that of Mussolini, who wrote much on the subject) more workable.

  1. National Socialism relied on geography and race to avoid the needlessly divisive self-destructive civil war as the Russians had suffered. Hitler felt that Germans shouldn’t fight Germans (like the way USA citizens are increasingly divided and opposed), so he elevated race above pure socialist dogma in an effort to unite more to his general cause. In Hitler’s words, “…find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution.
  2. Recognizing private property rights is necessary to economic success and social unity. In Hitler’s own words (not from the article), “Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. …Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.”  So Hitler socialists, like today’s Prius-driving, iPhone-toting, mocha Frappuccino-sipping Democratic Socialists, can have cool stuff.

I can understand some confusion, as Hitler had over the years said many things that could, in isolation, fuel the notion that he was anti-Marx; certainly he was anti- “Jewish Marxism.”  But I believe that’s only when viewing Hitler through a partisan lens. Because he made it abundantly clear in his own words that he was a socialist with rhetoric that should seem very familiar today.

In a long critique of Mussolini’s newly-coined “fascism,” Hitler wrote of his own economic plan, “Point No. 13 in that program demands the nationalization of all public companies, in other words socialization, or what is known here as socialism.”

So let me be clear on this…  Mussolini was the fascist.  Mussolini coined the term and defined it exhaustively.  Hitler disagreed with many key parts of fascism, and called himself a socialist.  

As of 1936, the German government dictated wages, prices, products, distribution channels…everything.  The “owners” of corporations were allowed to keep a percentage of profits as a motivator (a key reason their industries worked better than the soviets’), but, really, the “owners” were government employees.  …Just like everybody else.

The principle behind it all was that the “common good” (as defined by Hitler) was everything, and the individual was just a cog in the government machinery.  Or, as Spock said, ““The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Doesn’t that sound good to modern socialists’ ears?

The way people are redefining socialism and fascism along Democratic Party and Republican Party lines (or worse…”Right Wing” and “Left Wing.”  Both are on one bird, right?) is absurd.  Both of our entrenched, corrupt and anti-constitutional crony parties are increasingly authoritarian …and that should concern us all.

To more or less summarize my argument, as well as that in the article and referenced book, I’ll end with Hitler’s own words, and let you think on where we are today, and why so many Americans admired the man back in the day:

The Germany of today is a National Socialist State.  The ideology that dominates us is in diametrical contradiction to that of Soviet Russia.  National Socialism is a doctrine that has reference exclusively to the German people.  Bolshevism lays stress on international mission.  We National Socialists believe a man can, in the long run, be happy only among his own people.  We are convinced the happiness and achievements of Europe are indissolubly tied up with the continuation of the system of independent and free national States. Bolshevism preaches the establishment of a world empire…

Yeah, well, OK…like today’s socialists, Hitler was also fine with changing the terms and rules as he went.  And like today’s socialists, and socialists everywhere forever, he also silenced opposition.