Once and for all: The leftist origins of National Socialism
The debate about where Nazism should be placed on the political spectrum has enjoyed a renaissance of late. The answer is so obvious that we really needn't have bothered
Now, let me be as clear as possible on this subject: ethnic nationalism, let alone racism, is in no way conservative. The scientific racism of the Nazis, so popular across Europe from the beginning of the twentieth century until the devastating and inevitable result of its assertions, would never have developed if not for nationalist movements.
Nationalism as we know it was one of the earliest leftist ideologies, and remains fundamentally left wing, going hand in hand with identity politics. It was forged, as almost all ideological poisons that plague us today, in the fires of the French Revolution, and developed as a means of undermining the old European order, specifically the grand and, more importantly, multi-ethnic empires of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, and, to an extent, Britain.
The idea that countries should be based on single ethnic groups – the promotion of nation states – is an ideologically radical position. To a conservative, culture, not race, is what matters. The cry of the National Socialist is blood and soil, race and nation. The cry of the conservative is king and country.
Thus do the intellectually honest arrive at the inescapable conclusion: Nazism is not conservative. And if it is not conservative, it cannot be truly called right wing. It is a product of the French Revolution, just another bastard child of Rousseau’s love affair with himself, simply one more in a long line of deformed, monstrous political creatures to slither its way out of the primordial Jacobin soup.
The fact that Central and Eastern Europe (really all of Europe for that matter) have a long and at times vicious history with anti-Semitism is well known, and frequently referenced when discussing collusion with Nazis in occupied countries.
What is noted with far less frequency, and is far more important, however, is that fact that not until the dissolution of the Christian monarchies and the introduction of mass democracy was there an organised, systematic attempt to wipe out European Jewry (if you think the Holocaust is in any way comparable to the Inquisition in premise or scope, you comprehend neither). In fact, between the time the Christianization of Europe was completed and the French Revolution, there were really no organised, systematic attempts to wipe out anyone in Europe.
This is the obvious truth we ignore when we censure and censor people who would accurately link Nazism with leftism. Political theorist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn articulated this truth brilliantly:
The fatal year is 1789, and the symbol of iniquity is the Jacobin Cap. Its heresy is the denial of personality and of personal liberty. Its concrete realizations are Jacobin mass democracy, all forms of national collectivism and statism, Marxism producing socialism and communism, fascism, and national socialism, leftism in all its modern guises and manifestations to which in America the good term 'liberalism,' perversely enough, is being applied. The issue is between man created in the image of God and the termite in a human guise.
Only a German people ripped from tradition, a German people starved of Judeo-Christian morality, drugged with the false promise of a better future, and subjected to the authority of those who have no right to it, could stand by and watch, at times cheer even, as millions of human beings – precious, living, breathing human beings – were systematically herded up like cattle and sent to be exterminated like termites.
Make no mistake. There is little difference, if any, in principle between fascism, communism, and progressivism – between Soviets, Nazis, and today’s UK Labour Party or US Democratic Party. The difference lies only in the degree to which those ideological principles are followed through.
All promise a utopian future, to be attained by sacrificing tradition at the altar of progress. All deny class distinctions as well as the old order, politically rooted in Feudalism, morally rooted in Christianity. They deny individual liberty, responsibility, and property rights. And most importantly, perhaps not to be counted among the ideological tenants listed above, but as a result of them, they inevitably end up denying the sanctity and value of human life.
In Nazi-occupied Poland, an elderly Jewish rabbi becomes nothing more than a germ, merely to be cleansed. In Soviet-occupied Lithuania, a respectable businessman becomes an enemy of the people, merely to become part of a statistic.
Students across the globe rhetorically ask how people could participate in something as evil as the Holocaust. The answer is simple: It is the easiest thing in the world to commit evil when one doesn’t believe it to be such, when one exists in a society governed by moral relativism. The choice is indeed between man created in the image of God and the termite in a human guise. Those who would obfuscate the ideological and philosophical origins of Nazism have made their choice known.
Ed Kozak is a political commentator, writer, and musician, working for a publishing firm in New York City
We are wholly dependent on the kindness of our readers for our continued work. We thank you in advance for any support you can offer.