Is Hitler a Leftist?
Here is a myth:
During our debate last week, in a reference to the following depiction of political ideology (by Jesse) Chakravarthy said, “Hitler is a leftist. Socialist is in his party’s name.”
My immediate reaction to Chakravarthy’s comment was to laugh out loud. I won’t let these kinds of myths and assertions to pass for facts, which is why I am posting this.
Twenty years ago I bought and read a classic book, “The Rise and Fall of Third Reich” by William Shirer. I dusted it today and hit the internet to respond to Chakravarthy, who essentially reasserted a common myth among right wingers. (BTW, Shirer is a fascinating read – I highly recommend it.)
Yes the word “socialist” is in the name of Nazi party. National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDP, 1933-1945) is the official name of the Nazi party. Let us look at the actions of Nazis and put them where they belong in Jesse’s ideological continuum.
|The ideology of the left||What happened in Germany under Hitler’s NSDP rule:|
|Communist Creed: Workers own the factories and control production.||Private capitalists and individuals owned production of goods (factories, farm lands and machinery). Nazis maintained control on the capitalists. Nazis are capitalists – not socialists|
|Socialism trait: Unions and right to strike||Prior to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, worker protests had spread all across Germany in response to the Great Depression. During his drive to power, Hitler exploited this social unrest by promising workers to strengthen their labor unions and increase their standard of living. But these were empty promises; privately, he was reassuring wealthy German businessmen that he would crack down on labor once he achieved power.|
|Religion: Socialism doesn’t believe in religion, much less state sponsored religion. It is all secularism!||Fundamentalist Christians believe that Jews persecuted and killed Jesus and Nazis not only believed this, they went on a holocaust to annihilate Jews. So, Nazis are beyond fundamentalists – they are religious extremists|
I started writing this article by referring to Shrier and quickly realized that there is an excellent article on the web that has already debunked this myth. Why duplicate? Here is an excerpt that squarely puts Hitler where he belongs – “on the extreme right:”
Most people’s political beliefs are complex, and cannot be neatly pigeonholed. This is as true of Hitler as anyone. But since the far right is trying peg Hitler as a leftist, it’s worth reviewing the tenets popularly associated with the right. These include:
- Individualism over collectivism.
- Racism or racial segregation over racial tolerance.
- Eugenics over freedom of reproduction.
- Merit over equality.
- Competition over cooperation.
- Power politics and militarism over pacifism.
- One-person rule or self-rule over democracy.
- Capitalism over Marxism.
- Realism over idealism.
- Nationalism over internationalism.
- Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
- Meat-eating over vegetarianism.
- Gun ownership over gun control
- Common sense over theory or science.
- Pragmatism over principle
- Religion over secularism
Going by party name if one believes that Hitler is a socialist, it is naïve at best and stupid at the worst. It is like believing that there is freedom in “freedom fries” (which is another silly reaction by right-wing nuts to France’s non-participation in Iraq war.)
“Hitler is a socialist” is a myth propagated by the far right and put in the right-wing noise machine by the likes of Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and believed by ditto-heads. I personally believe that these two guys are extreme nut cases who are not just intolerant bigots – they always lie and distort facts. They are entertainers, nevertheless. Not to mention very articulate and convincing entertainers!
Of course, if any one believes that they make sense, I cannot and will not hold it against that person. It is not just because it is an individual right to believe what one thinks makes the most sense to him/her. It is also because, till some 13 years ago Rush did make sense to me. O’Rielly did make sense to me. The right wingers did make sense to me. It took a lot more reading and observation to realize how phony and hypocritical these guys are. If it sounds like I am ridiculing anybody for believing these nuts, you should also note that I am ridiculing myself from 13 years ago.