2: Leftism and Fascism: Reactionary Perspectives.
A: Leftism Revisited by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
B: Social Pathologist on the Marxist Origins of Fascism.
C: Reading Carlsbad’s Reading of Some Actual Nazis.
D: Reactionary Future.
E: Moldbug On Fascism and Socialism.
3: Next Time.
Last time, we looked at the nature of fascism.
What have reactionaries and other thinkers of the right (past and present) got to say about Fascism and Leftism?
Master Moldbug, famously, called America a communist country and, in contrast to Leddihn, claimed that Nazism and Fascism was of the right. TUJ has also claimed that Nazism was conservative or right-wing and Carlsbad1819 agrees; others do not. Social Pathologist for one; Vox Day is another; Oakshott and Sowell would also consider Fascism a kind of leftism.
Let’s look at what they have to say.
2: Leftism and Fascism: Reactionary Perspectives.
What follows are selections from a number of reactionary perspectives on fascism and their ideological, social and psychological connections with Leftism-Marxism-Socialism.
First, we have Erik Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn; second we look at Social Pathologist and James Gregor; thirdly, we look at Carlsbad1819’s analysis and then lastly Moldbug, TUJ and Reactionary Future. We will also provide some additional sources as well, such as Oaskshott, Sowell, Jonathan Glover and Vox Day.
A: Leftism Revisited by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, like Hitler, was Austrian; however, unlike Hitler, Leddihn was aristocratic and, like Hitler, was also born into Catholicism but was, nevertheless, still committed to his faith throughout his entire life; Hitler, meanwhile, hated Christianity and essentially attempted to create a new religion.
Leddihn, an old-school reactionary, influenced Moldbug’s thought but and he considers Nazism and Fascism to stand on the left side of the political divide. Moldbug disagreed but never provided any arguments as to why Leddihn was wrong, but we can infer why he did, as we shall see later.
In what follows, we see the core claims that Leddihn makes; first up is Fascism and then National Socialism.
The first systematic leftist and nationalistic opposition against Moscow-centered communism came from Italy. It was fascism; it had clearly socialistic origins. The fasces were the Roman symbols of authority and they reappeared in the symbols of the French Republic and on the American dime at a later period. In the earlier 1890s fasci (“bundles,” leagues) of workers so-called fasci dei lavoratori created grave disturbances primarily in Sicily, but also in parts of Tuscany. They were imbued with romantic socialist ideas and could only be subdued by force.
Mussolini’s socialist background and sentiments:
The founder of this century’s fascism was Benito Mussolini, the son of an Italian Socialist blacksmith who “had two sons; the older he called Benito (and not, in the Italian way, Benedetto) after Benito Juárez, the Mexican Indian who, supported by the United States, had defeated and then executed Emperor Maximilian Ferdinand Joseph, a Hapsburg and brother of Franz Joseph. The younger Mussolini was baptized Arnaldo after the medieval revolutionary Arnaldo di Brescia, a cleric who protested against the wealth and power of the Popes. Young Benito Mussolini was also a fanatical Socialist and started out to become, like his mother, a teacher. Later he went to Switzerland to take literature courses at the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva while earning his livelihood as a mason. He had difficulties with the police, was temporarily jailed, and later went to Trent, then in Austria, where he worked as a journalist for two newspapers, printed in Italian, which had nationalistic and Socialist tendencies. He became convinced that the local population, though ethnically Italian in its vast majority, preferred Austrian rule and, due to clerical influences, hated the idea of joining Italy
Fascists were progressives:
The remedy seemed to be hard work, discipline, punctuality, cleanliness, the fight against corruption, control of morality, military prowess, artificial industrialization, obligatory sports, and propaganda for “national greatness.” Fascism tried to promote all these efforts and drives. Foreign tourists were gratified to see the beggars disappear from the streets and the trains running on time. George Bernard Shaw, the great Fabian, had nothing but praise for Mussolini and thereby elicited cries of protest from Socialists. He was called a traitor, but he stuck to his guns: the Fascists were “progressive.”
It is noteworthy that the English Fabian socialists protested; perhaps, it was because of differences in caste and class.
Italian Fascism still had some affinities for traditional religion, but was internally conflicted:
Yet apart from this competitive urge conditioned by an inferiority complex there is still a purely ideological aspect to fascism, a solid piece of Socialist heritage and also of Religionsersatz, of synthetic “religion, which made coexistence between fascism and the Catholic Church so difficult. Fascism also had a Maurassian side insofar as it said “yes” to the Catholic Faith as a “national religion” and this attitude had a Machiavellian, a pragmatic basis. In this and other respects fascism differed strongly from Spanish falangism and the Rumanian rather spiritual even if savage Iron Guard ideology.
Leddihn then moves on to Nazism and claims that it had a “Leftist character”.
The program formulated in Vienna had a purely Leftist character. It said: “The German National Socialist Workers’ party is not a workers’ party in the narrow sense of the term: It represents the interests of all honestly creative labor. It is a liberty-loving and strictly nationalist party and therefore fights against all reactionary trends, against ecclesiastical, aristocratic, and capitalist privileges and every alien influence, but above all against the overpowering influence of the Jewish-commercial mentality in all domains of public life. . .
“. . . it demands the amalgamation of all regions of Europe inhabited by Germans into a democratic, social-minded German Reich. . . .
“. . . it demands plebiscites for all key laws in the Reich, the states and provinces. . . .
“. . . it demands the elimination of the rule of Jewish banks over business life and the creation of national people’s banks with a democratic administration. . . .”
This program, as the perceptive reader can see, oozes the spirit of identitarian leftism: It was democratic, it was anti-Hapsburg (since it demanded the destruction of the Danube monarchy in favor of the Pan-German program); it was against all unpopular minorities, an attitude which constitutes the magnetism of all leftist ideologies.
Leddihn claims that Leftism has, as its central elements, a focus on uniform identity and a hatred of difference. This characterization can easily be observed in today’s Tranzi fascism.
Hitler as a Leftist:
“His social inferiority complex weighed heavily on him. Carl Burckhardt, grand nephew of the famous Jacob Burckhardt and last League of Nations Commissioner in Danzig, explained to what extent this factor contributed to the outbreak of World War II. In Meine Danziger Mission 1937-1939 Burckhardt reports his conversation with Hitler in August 1939 about the prospects of war and peace. Hitler shouted, “I have read idiotic reports in the French press to the effect that I have lost my nerve, whereas the Poles have kept theirs.” (Hitler was so furious that for a few moments he was unable to continue.)
Burckhardt: “You do these journalists too much honor if you take their views so seriously. A Chancellor of the Reich ought not to get upset about such trifles. . . .”
Hitler: “This I cannot do. As a proletarian and due to my origin, my rise, and my character, I am incapable of seeing things in this light. This the statesmen have to understand if they want to avoid a catastrophe.”
Leddihn states categorically that Hitler had a leftist character:
Here was definitely a man with a genuinely leftist turn of mind, an identitarian, a leader, not a ruler, a personifier of the masses. Big Brother, but not a father, a loveless man who wanted to see Germany in complete monotony, with local traditions eliminated, regional self-government destroyed, the flags of the Länder strictly outlawed, the differences between the Christian faiths eradicated, the Churches desiccated and forcibly amalgamated. He wanted to make the Germans more uniform, even physically, by planned breeding and the extermination, sterilization, or deportation of those who deviated from the norm. The tribes (Stämme) should cease to exist.
In the meantime, misinterpretations of the real character of National Socialism continued almost unchallenged. Against these it must be emphasized that, not only in the judgment of the historian and the political scientist, but of its own leaders and ideologues, National Socialism had a distinctly leftist pattern which generally can clearly be traced back to the French Revolution.
The Danzinger Hermann Rauschning was the first man to analyze from a conservative viewpoint Hitler’s utterances made to him in private. In his highly revealing Gespräche mit Hitler he tells of Hitler’s utter contempt for Italian fascism, his special hatred for the Hapsburgs, his complete legal nihilism so reminiscent of the legal positivism in the United States. Hitler naturally knew very well that the Nazi Revolution was “the exact counterpart of the French Revolution” and he imagined himself not only as “the conqueror but also the executor of Marxism—of that part that is essential and justified, stripped of its Jewish-Talmudic dogma. “He was particularly proud of having learned so much from the political methods of the Social Democrats. He went on record to say that, “Workers calisthenic associations, cells from the factory workers, mass demonstrations, propaganda pamphlets written especially for the multitudes, all these new means of the political struggle used by us, are Marxist in origin.” No wonder, since Socialism brought the principle of totalitarian organization to Germany, a fact duly noted by the late Wilhelm Röpke. “National Socialism is socialism in evolution,” Hitler insisted, “a socialism in everlasting change.” And he also admitted, “There is more that unites us with than divides us from bolshevism . . . above all the genuine revolutionary mentality. I was always aware of this and I have given the order that one should admit former Communists to the party immediately.”
Compare and contrast Hitler with Napoleon and it is clear that they have totally different political outlooks and ideological temperaments and thus produced very different regimes.
Nazism and democracy:
Official utterances to the effect that Nazism stood firmly on the left, that it represented a democratic and republican, socialistic and antiaristocratic ideology, always abounded. Just like a fanatical Laborite Hitler attacked Eton and Harrow. He called himself an “arch-democrat,” National Socialism the “most genuine democracy,” the Nazi constitution “truly democratic.” In Mein Kampf he wrote about the “Germanic democracy of the free election of a leader.”
Now, for Goebbels and his “authoritarian” democracy:
Goebbels called National Socialism an “authoritarian democracy” or a “Germanic democracy,” if not the “noblest form of European democracy”: He maintained that National Socialists did not talk about much democracy, but nevertheless were the executors of the “general will.” Rudolf Hess termed National Socialism “the most modern democracy in the world” which rested on the “confidence of the majority.
Leddihn then cites the English, conservative philosopher, Michael Oakeshott, who claims that the common root of communism, fascism and National Socialism is in democracy:
Michael Oakeshott of the London School of Economics said, very much to the point, in confirming Goebbels’ stand, “An authoritarian regime, no doubt, can ‘liquidate’ the liberal supporters which, for one reason or another, helped to bring it into being, but no modern authoritarian doctrine can liquidate its debt to the doctrine of Democracy. . . . It is impossible “to understand either communism, fascism or National Socialism without first understanding the doctrine of representative democracy. . . . It is the parent of these ungracious children”
Leftism Revisited. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.
Leddihn, in Liberty or Equality (which we drew from earlier) has two chapters which trace, not only the origins of the French Revolution but Communism, Fascism and National Socialism to the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther in particular. We strongly recommend chapters VI (Hus, Luther and National Socialism; the Origins of a Totalitarian Movement I); and VII (The Rise of the National Socialist Party; the Genesis of a Totalitarian Movement II).
Overall, Leddihn is clear that National Socialism is Leftist. It is so because of its ideological, caste, character and consequences. Social Pathologist, who we look at next, also agrees that National Socialism is Leftist.
B: Social Pathologist on the Marxist Origins of Fascism.
Specifically, he has drawn attention to and made good use of the work of two academics, Roger Griffin and James Gregor on the subject of Fascism. He has also provided a “sexual” or “Game” interpretation of Nazism that is quite novel. The theory sees Nazism as socialism done by lower-class alpha males.
SP’s main claim, influenced by James Gregor’s, is that, firstly, Fascism is not of the “right”; secondly, that Fascism, along with Communism, is the squabbling heir to Marx:
The important theme that comes out of Gregor’s work is that just as Protestantism and Catholicism are rival interpretations of Christianity, so are Fascism and Leninism rival interpretations of Marxism.
Gregor clearly lays the doctrinal development of each of the strands of Marxism. What’s also quite impressive is the role of Italian thinkers in the development of the nationalistic interpretations of Marxism. The Italians thinkers were quite conceptually advanced in their understanding of Nationalism and offered a more “humane” version of Fascism than its Nordic cousin. Compared to the Italian thinkers, the Germans were rubes. It’s quite interesting that Italian Nationalistic Marxism i.e. Fascism was racially “lite” and there were quite a few Jewish Fascists among the Blackshirts….As Gregor shows, the only thing “Right” about Fascism is the nationalism it uses to cloak its ultimate vision of implementing a socialist society.
Fascism then is a dialectical consequence of Marxist thought.
Furthermore, what emerges from this analysis, when taken with TUJ’s, is that we have Communist and Fascist ideologies both finding origins in Marx, while Tranzi (American) fascism finding its origin in Comte and (we would also argue) Calvin and Christ.
We followed SP’s advice and read Gregor; what did we uncover?
What follows is from Gregor’s book Marxism, Fascism and Totalitarianism.
The first Fascism was composed of a variety of individuals representing a variety of economic and political convictions. They were dominated by Mussolini and those interventionist socialists who had left the official Socialist Party on the occasion of the Great War. Many shared the views of those syndicalists who advocated Italy’s entrance into the conflict and had collected themselves in the original interventionist “Fascio d’azione rivoluzionaria.” All traced their intellectual origins to traditional Marxism modified to address the problems faced by revolutionaries in an essentially “immature” economic environment.
In June, at the fourth national congress of the Partito nazionale fascista, Mussolini spoke of emergent “new Italians,” characterized by “absolute intransigence,” animated by a disciplined “totalitarian will,” in service to the state. He admonished the new Italians to be courageous, assertive, and intrepid, but more than all else to be disciplined and responsive to authority. Their cry was to be “all power to all of Fascism!
Thus, by 1925, both Leninism and Fascism, variants of Marxism, had created political and economic systems that shared singular properties. Both sought to fuel and direct rapid economic, particularly industrial, development of backward communities, under the auspices of unitary and hegemonic political parties. They both sought to control all the forces of production through a system of comprehensive regulation. Both sought order and discipline of entire populations in the service of an exclusivistic party and an ideology that found its origins in classical Marxism, but which had been transformed by sui generis “creative developments.” Both created a kind of “state capitalism,” informed by a unitary party, and responsible to a “charismatic” leader.
Whatever became of either system after 1925 was the consequence of external circumstances and internal dynamics. The Stalinism that followed the death of Lenin, and the totalitarianism that matured in Fascism, grew out of the system already in evidence by 1925. Neither Stalinism nor Fascist totalitarianism would have been possible without the transmogrified Marxist that infilled both. That does not make Karl Marx responsible for either Stalinist or Fascist totalitarianisms—it suggests, rather, that traditional Marxism is simply a failed theory, largely irrelevant to the modern world. It became relevant to the political life of the twentieth century only after it was transformed by the needs of communities suffering the deprivations, both psychological and material, in their real, or fancied, conflict with the advanced industrial democracies. In that sense, Marxism was responsible for much of the human and property devastation that marred the tragic history of that century.
The 1930s would see the full emergence of a unique state system, characterized by the institutionalization of charismatic leadership, in an arrangement that featured the dominance of a hegemonic party over a population summoned to redemptive purpose. Both systems displayed those properties. Whatever distinguished the two, there were fundamental similarities that identified them as species of the same genus.
By the 1950s, the term “totalitarianism” was pressed into service to capture a sense of shared properties For our purposes, it is more interesting to acknowledge totalitarianism’s source in the Marxism of the nineteenth century than labor over the differences between regimes.
We are left with institutional similarities that arrest our attention. They are shared likenesses that find their origins in a complex intellectual tradition bequeathed to the twentieth century by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Both Leninism and Fascism were to address all these concerns. Both, having their origins in the same revolutionary tradition, were to trace different paths in the creation of their respective state systems—and yet both were to conclude their labors with singularly similar results.
The goal of Fascism:
Fascists conceived their tasks to include the furtherance of economic development—the “intense and progressive production” left undone by the primitive industrial capitalism that characterized the peninsula before the Great War. They proposed that the acceleration of production and extensive development be “entirely organized, and institutionalized . . . by a strong state, a virtual Leviathan, a state with overwhelming juridical power,” all in “the service of the life and power of the nation.”
It would be a state that gave personality to a nation peopled by the “warrior-producers” anticipated by the revolutionary syndicalists in the years before the First World War. The principal Fascist theoreticians argued that “every social movement delivers into history a new concept of the state and of law.” That of Fascism was one of a “strong, very strong state, based on order, discipline and hierarchy, in the service of the nation’s economic, military, and cultural enhancement. Discipline was the critical precondition of its success. Together with discipline, the seamless identification of citizens with the state, and with the leadership, were central to the Fascist concept of totalitarianism Through a series of substitutions, the ultimate interests of the individual were those of the community, and those of the community were those of the state, and those of the state were those of the party and its leader.
The politics of faith, utopia and virtue signalling:
In his analysis of revolutionary dictatorships, and the totalitarianisms into which they matured, Panunzio maintained that their respective revolutionary leaderships were so convinced of the truths of their convictions, that absolute adherence to their respective ideologies becomes a measure of virtue. Any departure from that strict adherence would invite sanction. The Leader, creator and spokesman of an exclusivistic system of belief, inspires among his followers the conviction that he is a political leader and thinker superior to the greatest minds of our time. He becomes the ultimate source of security, fulfillment, and meaning. The system he creates is hierarchical, authoritarian, moralizing, and relentlessly public. In such circumstances, the entire political environment is characterized by an atmosphere of high emotional salience, public liturgies, and mass display.
It was their shared institutional form that rendered them members of the class of “totalitarianisms.” Whether their ideological commitment was to proletarian communism, or the Nordic race, or the restoration of Italy to its proper place in the community of nations, they all chose the hierarchically structured, charismatically led, single party state to pursue their ends—a state first fixed in political doctrine by Fascism. What they did with the instrumentalities that typified that state is now indelibly recorded in history.
Panunzio recognized that these obligations imposed pedagogical, and quasireligious, obligations on the revolutionary dictatorships he sought to characterize. He understood that such systems, freighted with such responsibilities, could only function in an atmosphere of sustained moral tension—that would foster collective discipline, obedience, and selfless commitment. To create and maintain all that, the revolutionary dictatorship would be required to control the flow of information and shape the educational processes. There would have to be an appeal to symbols, “sacred texts,” and charismatic leaders—all to create the moral equivalent of war. The revolutionary dictatorships, and the totalitarianisms, that were to follow, whether of the “left” or the “right,” were all marked by the same features—whatever their respective pretenses.
Marxism, Fascism and Totalitarianism. James Gregor.
Gregor is clear that Communism and Fascism were marked by the same features because they had the same parentage. Social Pathologist makes it clear that he does not consider Fascism or National Socialism right-wing; indeed, he is extremely critical of the “Alt-Right” for similar reasons because they are similar to Fascists.
SP also rejects Fascism as right-wing for its materialistic, anti-Christian philosophy. In SP’s judgement, Fascism was also a reaction against the deterministic metaphysics of Marxism; Fascism thus produced an alternative ethics, one that was more Nietzschean and “heroric” – though still materialistic in the metaphysical sense.
We therefore see something of a pattern: Leddihn and Social Pathologist are both Catholic and it is clear that their religious beliefs influence their judgement. Vox Day, also a Christian, is very clear that National Socialism and Fascism were left-wing. (See here, here, here and here for Day’s arguments.)
However, when we come to Carlsbad1819 – who may be a Christian – we see a contrasting claim made that upsets this pattern. Carl considers Nazism a lower-class, right-wing version of socialism.
C: Reading Carlsbad’s Reading of Some Actual Nazis.
Now, we focus here exclusively on Nazism.
Carl makes the following claim that we think is important:
It was a revolution from the right, as Hans Freyer called it.
A right-wing revolution sounds like a self-contradiction but it was this paradox that made Nazism both energetic and successful. In this conception of Nazism, it was a movement from the lower-middle class right-wing, using left-wing methods to create a new, radical, anti-aristocratic, anti-Christian, modernist, socialist, Spartan society.
Carl’s claim then is the similar to the Master’s in which it is caste origins (which we see later) and its popular, democratic, revolutionary element that injected the chaotic, leftist, intoxicant into the Nazi right-wing core.
First, we have the ideology of Nazism. Carl writes:
Now, we can say that a certain positive side to NS is its unambiguous rejection of liberal and democratic egalitarianism.
But is it? Carl then goes on to quote from Democracy and Leadership by Hansjoerg Maennel that:
National-Socialism is the fiercest enemy of parliamentary democracy. In opposition to that, it stands for the principle of Führertum. Führertum is the direction of an organization through one over-towering man. The leader-principle is based on the conception of human inequality. There are the intelligent and the stupid, the industrious and the lazy, the good and the bad. The particular peoples and races are different, and so are the individual human beings within a people. – Every people-comrade is appraised according to his performance for the people. Valuation according to performance. – The standard of valuation must be the same for every people-comrade. We National-Socialists reject preferential treatment for one class. (Examples: absolutism of the 18th Century; the Weimar System, in which the National-Socialist was a second-class person, while lower humanity could run wild with impunity; English plutocracy.)
There is no privilege for any special class; all people-comrades are evaluated equally. The result of an equal evaluation of the individual person is however not the same, but different. Here this principle applies: “To each what is appropriate,” not “To each the same,” as in democracy. He who sacrifices and achieves much ought to stand higher than he who achieves little and sacrifices nothing. The National-Socialist idea of leadership is founded upon a deliberate selection according to race (genetic value), character, and ability. Thus a rank-order develops. The entire people organically arrays itself as a pyramid. The most capable and gifted member of the people, who has prevailed through his over-towering achievements, stands at the head of the people: he is the Leader.
Carl then quips:
Hm, perhaps we ought to qualify our prior statement. Inequality is accepted only insofar as a level playing field is set by which people can determine their worth, their worth being their utility to the people’s community.
What would John Rawls have to say about this? What are we to make of the above and Tranzism’s constant railings against “privilege”? In Nazism, there is the “prior” of racial superiority but in Tranzism there is the “prior” of victimhood superiority that sees certain victimised groups placed in a “pyramid”. (Yes, the incoherence is all over the place, but there it is.)
In other words, the democratic, equalitarian, socialistic and Protestant-Christian elements are clear. This is light-years away from the pre-Reformation, feudal, Catholic and aristocratic worldview.
Carl then addresses the connections between Nazism and Communism, Revolutionaries and Reactionaries:
Regarding volkisch equality, we may examine a brief pamphlet by the Italian fascist Rodolfo Schott, translated for German consumption. It has a very interesting title, indeed: Fascism as a Proletarian Achievement (1935). Evidently they wanted to convey the notion that fascism was no petty Fronde of nobles, but a true Jacquerie of the impoverished underclass. He says, of the fascist demographic:
In many outspoken circles, also of some in good faith, Fascism has to this day been regarded as a reactionary rather than a revolutionary movement.
…The fascist trailblazers, among which there were quite a few real workers, had all come from socialism or syndicalism, and had left these movements after they had ascertained their incapacity for true revolution and their parliamentary rottenness.
David D. Roberts, A. James Gregor and Zeev Sternhell have all documented what Rodolfo Schott is saying, of course. We need only point out how frank even base fascist propaganda was about its origins. If the communists, instead of applying their frivolous dialectics, had actually taken the fascists’ own words seriously, we might have been spared tons of shoddy scholarship that served only to obscure the socialist and syndicalist origins of fascism. Of course, they could not have done that in good faith, for it would have meant the death knell and ostracism of their beliefs.
Carl later cites Georg Usadel and his thoughts on the Nazi “socialist new man” from his book Breed and Order: the Foundations of New National Socialist Ethics.
From this most powerful experience of the German people we can believe in this heroic train of service, which goes through the entire people. It is only from this faith that we hope we are raising within the German people, which we call the socialist attitude. We must be clear that a new order of economic life can not be achieved without a new socialist attitude of the German people. Before we have made it a habit that we can not bend for every advantage, like a dirty coin, a new economic order will not come. For if the pursuit of profit predominates in many people, the problem of technological alienation cannot be solved.
There is a certain danger in revolutions which can be solved by a New Man who can solve all these problems. For the powerlessness to shape the present can easily be hidden in the future. But never before in history has the attempt been made to actually bring about the New Man. The will to cultivate a new Volksgenossen is new and can not be shown in the past. In former attempts at improvement, people have thought only of the mind alone, and then it was believed that man would act according to knowledge. It has been forgotten that God did not place the mind alone by itself, but that the body is the bearer of the spiritual and the soul, and with them is a wonderful inexplicable interaction which the Almighty had willed and created. Now we strive for pure forms. We see not the body alone but also the mind.
We know that a moronic mind in a healthy body does not ensure healthy offspring, and vice versa. If many generations of parents live to pure forms according to a will, then people will be born of socialist attitudes, who renounce the self-interest and the advantages, who their fellow citizens regard as the helpful neighbor and not as the profit-seeking entrepreneur. They will take it for granted that the spiritual discipline of the “all for one and one for all” is in the forefront of commerce. Then the whole activity of the individual will revolve under the point of view that the life of the nation must give us direction, and not that of the individual. The will to the total abandonment of each one to his people will appear as self-evident. This is not a fantasy, but the fulfillment of the will of God…
This is very revealing. If one assumes Thomas Sowell’s analysis, that the “right” hold a “constrained” and “tragic” vision of human nature and politics respectively while the “left”, meanwhile, hold to a “unconstrained” and “Utopian” vision, this puts Nazism on the left side of the political spectrum.
The Nazis were, without question, the most radical revolutionaries in human history because they sought to revolutionise human nature itself. What follows are some extracts from Jonathan Glover’s Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century.
For Hitler, the project of Nazism was to create mankind a new:
Those who see in National Socialism nothing more than a political movement know scarcely anything of it. It is more even than a religion: it is the will to create mankind anew.
Adolf Hitler, Hitler Speaks.
Hitler is not engaging in formal speak here; this is exactly what Hitler really intended. How this can be considered “right-wing” is very much open to question. Right-wing thought, in contrast with Hitler’s, focus on order, stability, prudence, tradition and distrust rationally articulated systems implemented by the state or a vanguard of enlightened men directly.
Social Darwinism had continued to flourish in Germany. Together with Mendelian genetics, it was widely thought to provide a scientific basis for the eugenic ‘Racial Hygiene’ movement. Racial hygiene was conceived of as improving and protecting the gene pool of the race. In 1933 a leading advocate of racial hygiene became Rector of the University of Berlin. In his rectoral address, Professor Eugen Fischer said that Germany’s new leadership was forcefully intervening in the course of history and the life of the nation, with ‘a biological population policy, biological in this context signifying the safeguarding by the state of our hereditary endowment and our race’. The plan for improving the racial gene pool was to encourage those with ‘good’ genes to have children.
Hitler would paint a utopia using the blood of the Germany people:
Hitler believed in the natural selective pressures. He said that ‘Nature’ allowed unlimited procreation but then weeded out the weak. He also said that man tried disastrously to improve on Nature’s method of keeping population growth in check:
He is not carved of the same wood, he is ‘humane’. He knows better than the cruel queen of wisdom. He limits not the conservation of the individual, but procreation itself … man limits procreation, but is hysterically concerned that once a being is born it should be preserved at any price … the natural struggle for existence is obviously replaced by the desire to ‘save’ even the weakest and most sickly at any price … but sooner or later vengeance comes. A stronger race will drive out the weak, for the vital urge in its ultimate form will, time and again, burst all the absurd fetters of the so-called humanity.
The unimportance of the individual was stressed by the theorists of the euthanasia programme, Professors Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche in their book Permission for the Destruction of Worthless Life: Its Extent and Form.”
The destruction of worthless life:
In 1933 the Nazis introduced a sterilization law, with compulsory sterilization for ‘congenital mental defect, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, hereditary epilepsy, hereditary chorea, hereditary blindness, hereditary deafness, severe physical deformity, and severe alcoholism’. Fischer and Lenz were both involved in examining possible candidates for sterilization. Lenz was confident of his own assessment of people’s genetic potential. He thought he could tell musical from non-musical people instantly by their appearance. Size of head showed degree of intelligence and size of chest showed degree of vigour. Genius required a head circumference of at least 56 centimetres. Great men tended to have long noses.
Following up this line of thought, Hoche made use of a chilling comparison between a disabled person and a defective bodily part:
Viewed from the standpoint of a higher state morality, it cannot be doubted that the endeavour to sustain worthless life at all costs has been taken to excess. We have got out of the habit of regarding the state organism as a whole, with its own laws and requirements like, for example, a self-contained human organism which, as we doctors know, abandons and rejects individual parts which have become worthless or damaging.
Nazi eugenics also aimed to produce a higher proportion of the ‘right’ sort of children. Part of this was the compulsory sterilization of people whom the Nazis thought had ‘life of lesser value’.
As well as the sterilization of the ‘wrong’ sort of people, there was Heinrich Himmler’s Lebensborn programme, which aimed at more births of the ‘right’ sort of children. Members of the SS were exhorted to have more children, especially sons. Lebensborn homes provided support for the resulting large families, and also for racially preferred single mothers.”
Humanity. Jonathan Glover.
Without question, this is contrary to Catholicism and the essence of Christianity. From Sowell’s and Oakshott’s point of view, Nazism is unconstrained and Utopian, rationalist and faith based respectively. Both Nazism and Communism were thoroughly ideological and both believed in a scientifically planned society. The key difference is that the Nazis had a “racial science” element to their program and the Communists did not.
Carl’s conclusion on Nazism, nevertheless, is that it is right-wing:
Nazism was one of many movements that tried to forge a right-wing coalition in the aftermath of the permanent institutionalization of the principles and values of the great liberal revolutions into the fundamental constitutions of nearly all European states.
Ultimately, I think The Social Pathologist (Slumlord) has a good explanation in terms of game. He states that fascism is socialism for alphas, and of physically strong and self-assertive men of low SES.
On the point of masculinity, SP writes:
Nazism gets labelled a right wing ideology because it is a variant of socialism that has strongly embraced Paternalism, authority and sexual polarity. It’s right wingedness is only relative to the sexual ambiguity and kumbaya social philosphy of the rest of the Left, otherwise it is the same. Great leader, society controlling the means of production, everything for the people, crush the opponents of the people, utopianism etc. It’s the “bad boy” child of the Left.
Perhaps there is something to this Hitler as “bad boy” alpha male idea.
Carl also comes close to an idea which J.G Ballard understood and explored: the boredom of modern life and the thrill of violence:
But it’s also because NS offers a visceral communitarian experience that the liberal state cannot offer, yet it still keeps to liberal principles of equal opportunity among the in-group, with a strong social safety net and the feeling of purpose in being a political soldier. Truly, these are passions that the managerial class cannot satisfy, but that the proles are yearning for. They are yearning for chains while you hopelessly try to “liberate” them with more pages added to the Code of Federal Regulations.
Carl is wrong here: they are not yearning for chains; they are yearning for criminal thrills; the thrill of smashing things, stealing things and killing things.
Carl then has sounded as dissonant note here on Nazism being right-wing and not left-wing. It is not clear why he does so.
D: Reactionary Future.
Reactionary Future’s claims are also consistent with the previous analysis that Fascism was a variant of Marxism:
Fascism was basically Marxism that decided the central agent of history was not the Proletariat forming a dictatorship spontaneously, but was the nation controlled by a vanguard able to embodied the will of the people (because it has to be manifest in a group or individual.) Rendering Fascism a kind of Marxism.
Who else but alpha males would be “vanguards” even if they were “swinish” “scum”?
E: Moldbug On Fascism and Socialism.
Again, fascism is fascism because it arises out of democracy. Against the Left of intellectual consensus, universalist philosophy, bureaucratic disinterest, and bohemian disorder, it pits the forces of popular consensus, parochial tradition, vested or corrupt interests, and military order.
Each of the above has its place – both the Athenian perspective of the Left, and the Spartan judgment of the Right. A healthy society can see itself through any of these glasses, or all. But none in recent memory has combined the Athenian and Spartan virtues – it is a difficult merger. Carlylean order does not preclude the bohemian, but the combination is delicate at the least.
But to create this Spartan force in a democracy is to create, essentially, the Nazi Party. Or the Republican Party. If your party is just a theatrical production and has no actual intent of seizing power, it is the latter; if its plan, hopefully not a secret plan, is “one man, one vote, one time,” it is the former. Neither is a benefit to humanity, at least as described.
When the NSDAP seized absolute power, what seized absolute power was an organization which was more or less a government in exile, whose leader was a palpable nut, and whose supporters consisted largely of the lower-middle classes – relatively ignorant and ill-informed. This was not a military coup. It was the electoral victory of a democratic political party.
Had Weimar been terminated by a military coup, perhaps under Captain Ehrhardt or the like, the order that replaced it might have been a military order – a complete renunciation of democracy, a return to the Prussian traditions of Frederick the Great. Instead, as a democratic movement, the militarism of the Nazis had a notably paramilitary quality. For instance, calling the SA the SA was rather as if Youth for Western Civilization were to name its paintball brigade the “Special Forces.” It’s definitely not the way to get the actual Special Forces on your side.
It is this difference – the line between military honor and tradition, and paramilitary brawling and thuggery – that separates men from swine, and Carlyle from fascism.
The trouble is that if you try to modify the Nazi path to power to remove the swine, it is not clear that you have a path to power. There were plenty of non-swinish German nationalists competing with the Nazis. Only the Nazis, however, could build an entire party of swine. And even in Germany, enough swine and friends of swine could be found – which is hardly surprising, when you see that the choice was not the Nazis or nothing, but the Nazis or Weimar.
So once the Nazis seize power: power is held by a party of swine. With Hitler at the top. Many have joined the Party because they want to help restore Germany; many have joined it because they want to get ahead; some have joined it because they want to get revenge on the Jews. It is this organization, nominally under Hitler’s absolute rule but in practice more dangerous to him than he is to it, that now rules Germany. And at the bottom, below the Party, is the Deutsche Volk – whose opinions are coordinated by the propaganda techniques familiar to all, and coordinated quite successfully too. This too is a relic of democracy: popular sovereignty.
This is the outline of a Mafia state. This pyramid can impose order outside itself, but internally it is not and can never be ordered. Germany is a sea of warring acronymic agencies, increasingly corrupt. The Nazi system is still often dynamic and successful because it is so new and so young. Had it lived longer, however, the structure of bureaucracy and venality would have ossified, producing a transition not unlike that between the regimes of Louis XIV and Louis XVI. Hitler was certainly no Frederick the Great, and even Frederick’s system did not fare well under his dissolute heir.
Thus what we see in fascism is the last gasp of the European ancien regime, heavily contaminated by vices implicit in the attempt to restore order by democratic means.
For the master, the problem with Nazism (intrinsically) is that it is democratic and led, as Wellington might have said, by “scum”.
It is this second claim – a claim about class or caste – that makes Master Moldbug, TUJ and Leddihn different from others, perhaps.
This is something which we examine in the next post on caste, but for now we can make a quick summary:
Left and Right wing regimes differ in their implementation, not just out of ideological differences, but out of differences in who is doing the implementing.
In Master Moldbug’s view, Nazism is a right-wing regime done by the lower, middle-classes (The Middle).
In TUJ’s view, Soviet and Chinese Communism were left-wing regimes done by the proles (the Low).
Tranzi fascism is left-wing governance done by the upper-middle classes and the upper-class North-East, Harvard educated, American elite. (The High).
The caste perspective adds a new twist to the analysis, and we will try to sort out the competing interpretations in the next post.
In overall summary then, we have:
1: The shared ideological roots of Communism and Fascism are Marxist, which go back to the Jacobins of the French Revolution.
2: Communism and Fascism are democratic or mass movements of the people.
3: They were proletarian or lower-class political movements; though they did have support from artists, intellectuals and the rich.
4: Both were totalitarian.
5: They were modernist, “progressive”, “scientific”, anti-aristocratic and Utopian. Fascism and Marxism both, essentially, reject Christianity or see it as an enemy to be crushed. (Compare this with Napoleon’s beliefs and actions.)
6: Both are committed to creating a “new man” and are thus revolutionary at their core.
In the next post, we will examine these “many fascisms” using an Aristotelian “four causes” approach and we will also look at the differences and similarities via a caste analysis.
The following comment was prompted by the comment made below by “Slumlord” aka Social Pathologist. Firstly, we want to thank him for the work that he has done on his blog which we think has some of the best insights going around in the Nrx sphere. We are not Catholic and can be tough on Christianity, but there is something special and insightful to the way Catholic reactionaries think and we deeply enjoy learning from them.
We didn’t mention one of his major themes on his blog — system 1 and system 2 thinking and its significance for politics because it was not part of the overall theme here. (See his work here, here and here and especially here ).
Over the last year and a half we have read pretty much everything that every Neo-reactionary has written in that time period. Furthermore, we have read nearly all the back catalog of Foseti, Handle, Reactionary Future and Social Pathologist. Our only wish is that we had time to comment and engage in all of pieces that are written by all of the reactionaries every single day.
We also want to give credit to Carlsbad1819’s work. His historical breadth and depth and facility with language is phenomenal and nearly everything he comes out with is a tour de force. His piece on Nazism, which we made generous use of, is the best piece of historical research in reaction we have read since Moldbug.