January 20, 2003

Communists and Nazis

Tacitus really shook the monkey cage with this post. I'm afraid that some of the leftist commentators who have been engaging in the feces-flinging here will not be moved from their positions no matter how much logic and rational argument is brought to bear. That is because they are not logical and rational about their philosophy: they are religious.

It was and is easy to condemn a racist, exclusivist movement like Nazism. That philosophy, after all, played upon the German peoples' worst instincts, not their best. Their downfall was not merely due to the fact that "oft evil will shall evil mar,"* but to what I think is instinctive knowledge that despite our petty differences we are one. We are very good at overriding our best instincts, of course; but it is so much easier to use our best instincts against us as the communists and their offshoots do than to attempt to make our worst tendencies into virtues the way the Nazis did. Easier, and harder to combat.

The communists and so forth talk a great game about "brotherhood" and "equality." It is very difficult to go against this cant, even when one knows that it is being used falsely in the service of evil. The exclusion methods used by the Nazis were almost childishly simple -- you had to be German to be in the club! It is harder to keep track of what keeps you in the communist, or even leftist club. The definition of what it means to be a "vanguard of the proletariat" as opposed to a "capitalist lackey" is subject to the whims of whatever is fashionable in inner leftist circles. It could be anything: you wore a new jacket to the meeting -- So, comrade, are you hoarding, or did you get that on the black market?; that book on your shelf that was standard accepted literature is suddenly as good as a ticket to the gulag, because the writer fell out of favor; you pissed someone at the last meeting off, and they decided to pull strings...

But this is all being done in the name of The People™. Unfortunately, the good of The People™ is continually being undermined by those pesky actual persons. Few people can stand to be accused of undermining The People™ -- most people want to be known as the Most Altruistic Person on earth. The most horrid accusation to a lot of people is "You're so selfish!" (An accusation I always take as a compliment, but then I am a misanthrope and gush about the "Brotherhood of Man" moves me not at all. The fact that we are all human together is an occasion for irony, not gushy lumps of togetherness-spiel -- but I digress).

Anyway, that is why in the long run communists are more evil than Nazis. It was easy to get rid of openly evil Nazis, but it's going to be nearly impossible to get rid of every purse-lipped, smug-arsed lover of humanity with a copy of Das Kapital and a Free Mumia!/Paul Wellstone For President t-shirt.

*I thought of that quote when I thought of this post but I was going to wait until tomorrow to put this up; but when I opened the book it opened to the page that had that very quote, so I took it as an omen.

Posted by Andrea Harris at January 20, 2003 02:26 AM

The thoroughgoing irony of so much of this is that these people, who adopted his rhetoric without his critical eye, are exactly the utopians that Marx condemned as worse than useless. Marx was dead wrong, of course, but rationalist economist and self-professed historian that he was, if he were alive today he'd realize and freely accept that he had been wrong, precisely because he wasn't a fanatical zealot the way so much of the modern left is. In fact, he'd begun to recognize this before his death (even going so far as to say "I am not a Marxist.") Capitalism since Marx wrote has made everyone in its sway richer rather than making the poor poorer, and hence, without this most basic underlying premise, there never was any spontaneous proletarian revolution. All supposedly Marxist thought in the intervening time has been a vain attempt to gloss over this rather obvious point.

Oh well. Fascism as originally conceived by Mussolini, who BTW had been an active member of the Italian Communist Party before WWI, was supposed to be a socialism that could coopt and subvert the majority of the upper and middle classes rather than having to destroy most of their wealth through violent revolution. It did this by fusing Enlightenment socialism with the most popular product of the Romantic backlash, nationalism. It did it by continuing to nominally recognize private property, and thus enslaving it to the state through overweening regulation rather than seizing it outright. But there was no question that it remained a form of socialism: anti-Bolshevik socialism, sure, but no more so than what was espoused by most interwar social democrats, and the modern left doesn't cast THEM as right-wingers (since, of course, they were also anti-fascist). Hitler took from this, and laid more emphasis on--indeed gave primacy--the nationalism over the socialism, but that, again, doesn't mean the Nazis weren't socialists.

Posted by: David Jaroslav at January 20, 2003 at 10:37 AM

Oh, I know the Nazis were socialist. For the purposes of simplicity I decided to leave their socialism aside -- since that isn't what they are most "famous" for. When most people think of Nazis they don't think: "Those socialist bastards!" they think "those racist bastards!"

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 20, 2003 at 11:42 AM

Wonderful post, Andrea.

One of my favorite quotes too.

Posted by: Ith at January 20, 2003 at 12:57 PM

I know one or two communists. I have never known a nazi, but I know those who have been in the company of neo-nazis. They're frightened of them. They've warned me of them. My communist acquaintances, on the other hand, are very friendly, kind and caring people. I'm no communist, but how is someone who professes equality worse than someone who practices genocide?

Posted by: In all fairness at January 20, 2003 at 01:17 PM

Because they don't profess "equality" -- they profess the sort of levelling that was demonstrated by a Greek tyrant (whose name escapes my at the moment) about two thousand years ago: when asked how he would make sure everyone was happy and there would be no conflict among people, he went to a field of grain and lopped off the heads of the plants until they were all the same height. For more on this, consult Animal House by George Orwell.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 20, 2003 at 01:34 PM

The commies don't profess genocide and mass murder, but they practice them. Communists and Nazis, two peas from the same pod.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at January 20, 2003 at 07:38 PM

George Orwell's Animal House? Nice one, Andrea. Conjures up all kinds of weird images of John Belushi, pigs, dogs and toga parties.

Posted by: Steve Thompson at January 20, 2003 at 10:06 PM

Yikes! I meant Animal Farm. I must have had a flashback. Hmm... some toga parties are more equal than others...

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 20, 2003 at 10:45 PM

Damn. I hate you.

That's two links in 24 hours I've had to steal from you. Again.

You're an evil woman.

Posted by: Dean Esmay at January 21, 2003 at 02:38 AM


Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 21, 2003 at 08:16 AM