What's so bad about Nazism?
What is it about Nazism that people find so abhorrent? What are those elements of Nazism that we recognize in the words and actions of the politically empowered that make us rise up and say “no more”?
Is it the harsh lesson of how quickly the forked tongue of a charismatic leader can whip up support to condemn a whole race of people to extermination? Is it the uncanny ability to identify the next despot, paving his or her road to political victory by spinning tales of unearned wealth and privilege accruing to an elite minority?
Both sides of the contemporary political spectrum increasingly invoke Hitler to raise the alarm about the imminent danger of the next fascistic regime. It is however, towards the left that I pitch this question, because the Hitler-Nazi-Fascist triad has largely been invoked by the left to foreground the re-emergent politicization of race, and valorization of racism. And while I certainly do not condone racism I believe that this focus is detrimental insofar as it deflects from the real danger that is approaching us at lightening speed.
I would contend that the true evil, the danger to be feared and abhorred, is the idea that one group of people is expendable for the sake of another. It is the violent means by which we, as a society choose to achieve the ends we desire, or at least, permit our leaders to achieve on our behalf.
Though this sounds like racism, it is very different insofar as the racist and the ardent anti-racist are equally capable of perpetrating such violence.
The real issue is the acceptance of an “ends justifies the means” attitude that is everywhere in evidence. Trump didn’t win the popular vote therefore the electoral college is wrong (NB: a system put in place to limit the dangers inherent to democracy: mob rule). I don’t agree with the outcome of the election so let’s riot and burn and pillage and destroy the property and livelihoods of ostensibly innocent, and perhaps financially strapped, individuals like ourselves. Let’s do away with capitalism and move towards a social democratic system of governance (NB: the Nazi’s were democratic socialists). Better yet, let’s eliminate inequality by moving towards a communitarian system that valorizes group welfare over the vagaries of individual choice, desire and liberty.
While the wish for our fellow humans to share in our relative wealth and to live without need is a reasonable wish, it’s realization requires violent solutions that invariably identify a category of people that are expendable in order to achieve this goal. This is demonstrated by the innumerable tweets that I have read calling for, or wishing for Trump’s assassination.
It is demonstrated by Black Lives Matter rioters who chant for dead cops as they tear their way through one US city after another.
It is demonstrated by the imposition of taxes on low and middle income Americans to provide corporate welfare to Wall Street. And it has been demonstrated by every single communist regime that has ever cast its dark show across the face of the earth.
An interesting fact that many socialist, communist, and Marxists don’t seem to know (or at least I hope they don’t given he implications) is that while the genocidal regime of the Nazi’s is not to be made light of, communism has killed many times that number of people and for similarly ideological reasons. Instead of the Jewish race however, class was the object of that violence. (Though, a more accurate comparison would be with white people today, insofar as whiteness is seen as a mark of unearned economic and political privilege in much the same way that Jewishness was decried as a mark of unearned wealth and power in 1930s Germany. See my article on the validation of anti-white violence to understand the very real threat). Because it is so difficult to gain consensus and make people do what they need to do to realize the utopic dream of many a leftist visionary, absolute equality of outcome is impossible and, depending on your conviction, a degree of violence is inevitable.
According to Stephanie Courtois’ 1997 The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, 100 million people were killed in the twentieth century in a bid to realize the communist dream of economic equality, as compared to the 25 million killed by Nazi Germany. The estimates offered are staggering:
- 65 million in the People's Republic of China
- 20 million in the Soviet Union
- 2 million in Cambodia
- 2 million in North Korea
- 1.7 million in Ethiopia
- 1.5 million in Afghanistan
- 1 million in the Eastern Bloc
- 1 million in Vietnam
- 150,000 in Latin America
- 10,000 deaths "resulting from actions of the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power." (See Wikipedia for more details)
For myself, what is so abhorrent about Hitler and Nazism is equally abhorrent about Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union, Castro and Guevera in Cuba, and Mao in China. It is the initiation of violence against many millions of individual human beings. It is the stealing of some one else’s life - their families, their livelihoods and means of survival, and their futures - all as a means to achieving some person or group’s vision of a perfectly organized, equitable society. Whether your dream is a racially pure society, or a perfectly equal one, insofar as people have the freedom to refuse your dream, its realization must be forced upon them, and historically at least, violence has been the means by which such resistance is met.
While racism can be violent, violence isn’t always racist.