Yeah, he was a socialist.

cropped-libertyI give 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.

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, 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.

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.

In a 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.”

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…


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Fascists (crypto or overt, in this case a gradient between the two) have a tendency of appropriating words that have gained traction with the populace for whatever reasons they may be (i.e. today, Globalization was appropriating by many right-leaning pundits as “Globalism”). If you take even a remote gander at Germany’s history during the 1920’s and 30’s, you would know that Hitler was appointed as Chancellor by Hindenburg as a mean to offset the growing domestic tension caused by the communist and socialist movements gaining traction with many people whose lives were ruined by the stock market crash of 1939. Think about how interesting that is; a fascist megalomaniac being literally APPOINTED by a president in a liberal democracy. The greatest threat to democracy being appointed in a democracy. That is funny. But I digress, Mr. Horner.

    While Hitler was certainly fond of nationalizing industries such as military and police (as most fascist states have, historically), significantly large swathes of the economy were or remained privatized. Zyklon B— you know, the toxic gas used in the extermination camps— was made and distributed to Nazi Germany by IG Farben— a private pharmaceutical and chemical corporation; it’s probably the most notable example.

    It’s quite dangerous to equivocate the actions of Adolf Hitler with the core, classical ideals of socialism, but it’s also factually erroneous. “Worker control over the means of production” does not equate to, “Palingenetic ultranationalist dictatorship.”

  2. Good comments, but I think you’re wrong in your conclusions.
    Give me an example of a socialist regime where the workers actually controlled the means of production.
    It’s always that collective abstraction “government” that actually controls the means of production.
    And the reality of that abstraction is always a small number of nefarious, and of course violent, people.

  3. That’s the point, wedeclare. Socialism can not exist without a small group of legislatures allocating the resources. Socialism will never be successful because of that. Power corrupts. The most effective form of government is minimal government. The bigger the government becomes, the greater inequality becomes as more and more resources are diverted from private citizens to the ruling class. You can’t distribute the means of production among the collective without a government and governments are inherently corrupt.

  4. Yep. Well said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: