Saturday, September 30, 2017

Debunking the Top Six Claims That the Nazis Were Socialists

          I’d like to debunk, once and for all, the six claims that are most commonly used to support the idea that Nazis were socialists. I’ll explain why I believe Nazis were not socialists, socialists aren’t Nazis, and Nazism and socialism aren’t the same thing.

I need to qualify before I start: I don’t mean to refer to the Soviet Union every time I use the word “communism”. Other communist systems have been proposed and tried. If you don’t believe that communism can work without becoming totalitarian, look up the Paris Communes, the town of Mondragon, Spain, or the Rojava territory in northern Syria.
            Based on my observations, when communism and socialism fail, it’s often because some Western, capitalist, or imperialist nation bombed or invaded it, or overthrew its democratically elected leader or government, or interfered in its elections, or sabotaged it, aided terrorists or rebels in the country, sometimes all of the above.
American conflicts with other nations often stem from, and involve, competition over resources, but more importantly for the purposes of this discussion, refusal of a country to open their markets to American products (as well as refusal to open their lands and natural resources to outside investors and developers).
Learning from these conflicts, and seeing what happens when tariffs are raised, we see how easily sanctions can escalate into trade wars, which escalate into cold war, and sometimes even hot war. Most communists want to abolish markets as soon as possible, and in my opinion, that - conflict over markets - is one of the root causes of the economic conflicts between the more capitalist N.A.T.O. countries and the more anti-capitalist periphery.
But onto the task at hand: debunking claims that the Nazis were socialist.
           
Here’s the first claim: “Nazism is short for national socialism, and that makes it socialism”.
It’s true that that’s what it’s short for, but just having the word socialism in the name doesn’t necessarily make it socialist, doesn’t make the system mostly socialist, doesn’t prove real socialism was intended or achieved.
            John McCain runs as a Republican, but does he represent the true values of republicanism? Bernie Sanders calls himself alternatively a Democrat, a socialist, or a democratic socialist; does that make him one or the other? Isn’t that for the democrats and socialists to decide, aren’t they the ones who best know the difference?
            Is the Patriot Act patriotic just because the word is used in the name of the law? Take Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Does using those words prove that Obama cares, that patients are really protected?
            To say that Nazis are socialists because they use the word socialism, is like saying that the monkey-bird is a monkey because it’s got the word monkey in it. Insisting that it is, doesn’t make it any less a bird.
             Yes, “national socialism” was the term used; the full name of the Nazi Party was the nationalsozialistiche deutsche arbeiter partei, or National Socialist German Workers’ Party. In the early 1920s, Hitler spied on the German Workers’ Party, then infiltrated it, won its trust, and changed its name so as to add ‘nationalsozialistiche” up-front, making it the N.S.D.A.P..
            This was done, as I will demonstrate throughout the rest of the video, as a ruse, to lure socialists into the Nazi Party, in order to boost its popularity, the number of members in its ranks, and its police and military power. The Nazis were not socialists; they were profoundly anti-socialist; they cared about workers only in so much as was necessary to work them to death.
That is not the goal of socialism. That may have been what Lenin and Stalin wanted (for some people), but the new socialists and communists understand that it’s not a crime, or shameful, to avoid unnecessary work and unnecessarily difficult labor. The word “socialist” was included in the full name of the Nazi Party because the Nazis saw it as a way to trick socialists into joining the party, and then betray them.

Here’s the second claim: “Nazis were socialists because they had a socialist economy”.
This is false. Nazis hated socialists and viewed them as political tools. The Nazis did not practice socialism, nor did they achieve socialism. They weren’t trying to achieve socialism, they were lying.
The Nazi economic policy was not socialism, but dirigisme, D-I-R-I-G-I-S-M (and in some languages it ends with an E). Dirigism is about the direction of economic affairs by the government. It involves a significant role for the state in the ownership and management of firms and resources. Dirigism is based on the “Colbertian mercantilism” of French economist Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Colbert advocated state power to pass protectionist measures to support firms, and interventions in the economy, which most socialists and advocates of free markets despise.
Dirigisme was the economic system used in the Falangist regime of Franco in Spain, the Fascist regime of Mussolini in Italy, and the Nazi regime of Hitler in Germany. Dirigisme is the economic system most closely associated with 20th century WWII European ultranationalism. I would loosely describe fascism as the political expression of the economic system of dirigisme. That’s what Hitler and the Nazis practiced – dirigisme, not socialism.
Dirigisme and central planning can be capitalist, or socialist, or even a mixed economy. Dirigisme, as enacted in Nazi Germany, was a far-right expression; as far-right as you can go without cutting off trade with even your best trading partners.
I should note, as a reminder, that not all socialists are Marxists, and Marx didn’t invent socialism. So if you want to criticize socialism, you may or may not be criticizing something that Marxists want as well. It could even be argued that Marx was not really a socialist, because he was influenced by classical liberal economists such as Adam Smith.
The Nazis did not have a socialist economy, they had a dirigist economy. Some Nazi Party members did want socialism, but they were nowhere near in charge of the party, and so, they became its victims.

            The third claim: “Nazi Germany was a mixed-economy, it was half-socialist”
            The mere presence of a government, or public services, or a welfare state, or unions, does not make a system socialist. Supporting the rights of only ethnic Germans, and providing public services to solely or mostly them, is certainly not what Marx meant by “workers of the world unite”; he wanted cooperation across language and ethnicity. Socialism is an economic system – societal control, management, or ownership of the means of production – and the Nazis used a different economic system, dirigisme.
            I can’t think of a time I’ve ever heard about a Nazi – politician, soldier, sympathizer, or activist – start an anarchist commune, help build a kibbutz, nor lobby for the abolition of interest, profit, nor landlordism altogether. True, the Nazi Party did advocate debt forgiveness - and even the abolition of usury, ground rent, and land speculation - but they wanted those things to primarily benefit the German people, certainly not the nearly 20% of its population which were deemed "sub-human" and "inferior".
            Nazis weren’t economic moderates or mixed-economy; they favored autarky – that’s autarky with a k, not a c-h – this means economic independence and self-sufficiency for the nation. It involves protectionist measures to benefit domestic industry; with workers working, for wages, for firms that operate on a for-profit basis. And it features limited privatization of state industries (that is, the selling-off of state resources to private owners in-name, while the state retains control over it), and a heavy role for state and its interference. Sound familiar?
In addition to all that, however, Nazi economics featured rationing. In extreme cases, the country cuts off trade with the rest of the world, leading to what’s called a closed economy. To describe this as a communist one would be a stretch, because the Communist Manifesto calls for international cooperation, however it doesn’t exactly call for international trade, because that would be to legitimize the idea that markets are still necessary, an idea with which most communists would disagree.
A mixed economy can be libertarian or authoritarian, but either way, a mixed economy involves a regulated market, with about half the firms being either cooperatively run E.L.M.F.s – “egalitarian labor managed firms” – and other firms that practice the principle “cost the limit of price” – basically, that they operate on a not-for-profit basis, and reinvest any excess product back into the company, to help workers and consumers and the community.
The mere presence of unions and a welfare state – even a strong welfare state – does not necessarily guarantee or prove that a country (or state, or community) is socialist, or that it’s trying to be one, or anything. It’s certainly not socialist if it has heavily regulated union activity, lots of banned union activities, and a poorly managed, inefficient welfare state. Socialists don’t want those things; neoliberals do.
Socialists want cooperative management of the means of production, and they want to keep all they produce, so that a welfare state is unnecessary. Neoliberals want a welfare state so they can use it to scheme, defraud it, enrich themselves, and sabotage the poor to create a state of artificial dependence. That is not what socialists want. I’m not trying to go out of my way to defend socialists, neoliberals, and Nazis, it’s just that what each of them believes is getting blurred together and confused, and that helps nobody.
Nazis weren’t half-socialist, they didn’t have a mixed economy; they practiced one of the many forms of capitalism – dirigist mercantilism – therefore, they were on the right. They traded with some of the biggest international corporations at the time.

            The fourth claim: “Hitler explicitly stated that national socialism was socialist, and wanted to create a uniquely German form of socialism.”
            If you believe that, then most likely, you saw a quote on the internet that was attributed to Hitler, but was actually said by someone else.
            Here’s the purported Hitler quote that the “Nazis are socialist” proponents often bring up: “We are socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system…”.
            Gregor Strasser said that, not Adolf Hitler. Gregor and Otto Strasser were brothers, the leaders of the left-wing “Strasserist” faction within the Nazi Party. Strasserism combined anti-Semitism with socialism, and the opposition to both German capitalism and Jewish capitalism. This stands in contrast to what Hitler wanted, which was to combine capitalism with anti-Semitism, with a socialist façade.
            When people present this quote as proof that Hitler was a true socialist, they are sharing the words of a man who was murdered on Hitler’s orders, in a mid-1934 purge called the Night of the Long Knives. The purge was led by Ernst Rohm, leader of the S.A. (Sturmabteilung; Stormtroopers, also called brownshirts), the paramilitary arm of the Nazi Party.
            Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels promoted socialism - while subtly subverting socialist principles to Nazi ideas, by conflating society with the state and the nation – as a way to lure working people into the party, to boost its ranks and grow its strength, power, and influence.
            Propaganda Minister was literally Joseph Goebbels’s job title. His office was called the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. You can’t trust someone like that to adhere to socialist principles just because he claims to be a socialist. Nazis lie, that’s what they do. Mussolini did the same thing to Italian socialists as Hitler and Goebbels did to the Strassers, as Franklin D. Roosevelt did to Norman Thomas and Henry George before him; they stole all their good ideas, repackaged them as worker-socialism with subtle undercurrents of ultranationalism, and left-wing paternalism and patriotism, and destroyed the ideals of socialism, and murdered socialists along with them. Musssolini, by the way, described fascism as “the merger of state and corporate power”, saying that it should more accurately be called corporatism.
Lastly, “A uniquely German form of socialism” more aptly describes the Strassers than Hitler and his ilk. In the Ukraine, Nestor Makhno fought the Soviets in his attempt to found a uniquely Ukrainian form of socialism. The Strassers, Makhnovism, social nationalism, and integral nationalism are all terms which would be of interest to someone looking for actual attempts to combine (or reconcile, synthesize, or sublimate) socialism and nationalism, rather than to simply disguise nationalism as socialism.
            Hitler never articulated a vision of National Socialism which could rightfully described as anywhere near approaching actual socialism; it doesn’t even resemble failed or collapsed socialism. Hitler and Goebbels did overtly claim to be socialists, but that quote was from Gregor Strasser, who supported socialism, unlike Hitler, a fraud of a “socialist” who murdered socialists and destroyed everything socialists stand for, arrested communists and social democrats, and banned most unions.

            Claim number five: “Nazis were socialists because they had a state, and socialism is statism”.
            Anyone who believes that a state is what makes something socialist, probably also believes that, as the meme says, “socialism is when the government does stuff, and the more stuff it does, the more socialister it is”. A state is a political arrangement, while socialism is an economic system. Statism and socialism are not the same thing.
Yes, there is state socialism, but there is also libertarian socialism, and socialist expressions of anarchism, and the goal of socialism is anarchist communism. The leftists’ and Marxists’ idea of the state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) is profoundly different from the way Nazis, other authoritarians, and most conservatives understand it. Most on the left want to convert the bourgeois Westphalian nation-state to a more democratic, populist, and internationalist one as soon as possible, only using the state to facilitate the transition for as long as they have to.
Marxists don’t exactly "support the state"; certainly not the way it is currently structured. On the contrary; just like political libertarians do, Marxists see the state as a temporary tool to achieve a better state of affairs. The question, for revolutionary purity’s sake, is how long that should take, and which ideology has the better track record of dissolving the state the fastest after they have gotten a hold of it. 
            A big welfare state is not what socialists want. They want robust and diverse union activity, transitions to worker management of workplaces, and sustainable growth of community-oriented cooperative nonprofit enterprises, where those who labor retain the freedom to keep all of what they earn, with full rights to adjudge (within reason) what is the full product of their labor, and what form of compensation would suffice as its equivalent (cough, labor, cough cough).
          Socialists don’t support welfarism, they support socialism; the freedom of workers to keep what they make and earn, so that they never need to go on welfare, or establish a welfare state. It’s neoliberals who want a welfare state, while the progressives (who often depend on it) feel conflicted, and know something about it isn’t working right.
             If you’re going to criticize Nazis for controlling a state, and claim that that makes it socialist, then by that logic, Donald Trump, Obama, the Bushes, Bill Clinton, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, the Pope, me, Adam Kokesh, and everyone who’s ever agreed to abide by the outcome of a democratic election, qualify as statists and socialists; including independent parties, people who run but continue to openly espouse anarchy, et cetera.
Is that an accurate picture of reality; Ludwig von Mises standing up and shouting “you’re all a bunch of socialists”? Since when does “socialist” mean “control freak”? When I grew up, you called a control freak a Nazi. What happened? In dire financial times, both socialist and nationalist governments have been known to resort to rationing, cartels, price controls, wage controls, mandatory recycling, forced labor, the draft, gun control measures, and other compulsory, command-and-control measures. It's not only socialists, not only fascists, who do these things.
            If you want to argue against Marx supporting centralization or the temporary use of the state, that’s fine, but keep in mind that political libertarians, just like Marxists, democrats, and liberals, believe in grabbing hold of the state, to get it under control, and use it to make a smooth transition to a better society. They all tolerate, or even rely on, some level of statism, gradualism, and concentration of political power in order to achieve their objectives.
Don’t do what Goebbels recommended; don’t accuse your opponent of doing what you do. It is of no use to a diplomat if, when he criticizes another country for committing an atrocity, his own country does the same thing. Do not be guilty of that which you accuse your opponent, or your opponent will feel it totally justified to sink to your level.
Yes, the Marxist interpretation of socialism, as articulated in The Communist Manifesto, does involve the control of a state, and conversion of it to a more proletarian socialist conception of a state, during a transition period. However, simply because Nazis managed a state and called themselves socialist, doesn’t mean they really represented the interests of all of society. On the contrary, they destroyed precious freedoms and civil liberties that both classical liberals and socialists treasure. The Nazis did, by no means, act in the interest of the wider society that lived on the land they occupied.
Communism, Nazism, fascism, and state socialism are political arrangements. Capitalism, socialism, dirigisme, and a mixed economy are economic systems. Socialism’s goal is stateless communism, and there are plenty of anarchist and anti-authoritarian currents within socialism. Being in control of a state does not make you a socialist, because socialism is an economic system; just like market-oriented economics, it comes with no guarantee of either statism or freedom.

And finally, the sixth and last claim: “Nazism is a collectivist ideology, and that makes it socialism”.
Collectivism can be defined as either public or state ownership of the means of production, or as a moral worldview that supports giving groups precedence over individuals. The definition of collectivism does not perfectly overlap with the definition of socialism, and the use of the word “collectivism” may not always denote an economic system.
In the same way that "All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares”, Nazism may be collectivist, but that doesn’t mean that all collectivists are Nazis. And if they aren't, then we can’t safely conclude that either all socialists are Nazis, nor even that all socialists are collectivist.
Also, I’ve got news for you: if you expect to live in a civilized society, or community, or work in a workplace, or trade in markets, you’re going to have to allow for some amount of collectivism in your life. That is, unless you want to live by yourself.
Nazism and socialism are both forms of collectivism, but they’re collectivist in different ways. Nazis believe that the collective, and society, are best embodied in the nation, the state, and the segment of society with the right ethnicity and the superior blood and genetics. Socialists see the collective, and society, as the totality of peoples and lands of the world. Marx said “workers of the world, unite”, not “pure-blooded workers of the greater German-speaking realm, unite!”.  The Communist Manifesto calls for anarcho-communism through cooperation across borders and nations; a society without states, class divisions, nor currency.
Additionally, not all forms of socialism are collectivist through-and-through. Yes, Nazism, communism, socialism, statism all have collectivist elements. But there are socialists, and types of socialism, that are very individualistic, or free market, or patriotic, or even (as I’ve explained) nationalist.
Max Stirner’s idea of the Union of Egoists is one example; his writing expresses socialist and communist ideas while remaining quite individualistic and subjective. Austromarxist Otto Bauer supported self-determination of individuals into non-territorial nations; his idea is called “National Personal Autonomy”, and it combines social democracy with individualism and nationalism. There’s also socialist anarchist Emma Goldman, and many other anarchists with both socialist and individualist views, such as Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner. Henry George, and mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, each attempted to explain how property and communism could coexist.
During World War II, German Christian Democratic Socialist Sophie Scholl was executed after leafleting her criticism of Hitler’s reckless military tactics, but she demonstrated her patriotism in her messages by lamenting the needless loss of a third of a million German troops in the Battle of Stalingrad. The philosopher, and well-known critic of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, is often described as a socialist, even though she openly criticized multiculturalism and the welfare state.
Socialism can be individualist, that it can be patriotic or even nationalist, and that it can even accommodate markets and coexist alongside private property and the privacy of personal freedom. Socialism and capitalism are when the economy features (respectively) public and private ownership of the means of production, not necessarily when all property is managed one way or the other. That means that private capitalism and public socialism can co-exist side by side in peace.
If socialism can be free – and if it can tolerate, accommodate, or even borrow some ideas traditionally thought to come from the right, then that means that socialism can be combined with ultranationalism (as in the Strassers), but also that socialism can be combined with anarchism (as in the anarcho-syndicalism of Rudolf Rocker). It also means that just because someone says the Nazis used socialism, doesn’t make it so, and doesn’t mean all socialist experiments have Nazi goals. And certainly, not all attempts to create a mixed economy end in Nazism.
Considering that 1% of American firms are cooperatively run, if you’re going to claim that means we have a mixed economy today, then I’ll hold you to that, as long as you’ll admit that means socialism and capitalism can coexist. I know I’m talking about a heavily regulated economy, and yes, I do think it would be easier for them to coexist without the state to get in the way.
Capitalism, socialism, and even nationalism are not necessarily statist; we only associate nationalism with statism because the major mode of actually existing nationalism is the modern nation-State. It hasn’t always been that way, and it doesn’t have to. You can learn more by looking up terns like proletarian internationalism, libertarian socialism, anarcho-communism, free communism, libertarian communism, national syndicalism, national anarchism, and synthesis anarchism.
That’s why it’s preposterous to claim that “all Nazis are collectivists, and all collectivists are socialists, therefore all Nazis are socialists”. Many Nazi sympathizers claim to despise all forms of collectivism, while failing to see the collectivism inherent in their world-view.
It is intellectually dishonest to blur Nazism, nationalism, statism, socialism, and collectivism, together as if they were the same thing. In my opinion, people do this as a way to over-simplify the set of political and economic ideas that are not as individualist (or libertarian, or free-market, or capitalist) as the system they desire. I see this as over-simplification, which is intellectually irresponsible.
Not all socialism is statist; not all socialism is collectivist. Nazism is a political system, and socialism is an economic system, while collectivism can be defined as either public or state ownership of the means of production, or as a moral worldview that supports giving groups precedence over individuals.

So there we have it: Nazism is not socialism.
It’s hard enough to get liberals to understand that Ludwig von Mises wasn’t a Nazi, but rather a Jew who had to escape Nazis, and that the “austrofascist” he worked for (Austrian president Engelbert Dollfuss) actually banned the Nazi Party in Austria, and was killed by Nazis in 1934. However, his troops fought armed socialists earlier that year, and at a time when each socialists and fascists in Austria had mixed feelings about Anschluss (unification) with Germany. Does that make Dollfuss a Nazi? Maybe. Mises? Probably not. This is, by no means, easy to explain to the average person who’d call a Libertarian a racist.
I know that the things I talk about can be some extremely complex to a lot of people; how socialism, nationalism, libertarianism, et cetera, intersect, what they have in common, how and why they’re confused with each other. I do appreciate people reading the entirety of what I have to say on matters like this, and I hope I’ve provided accurate information. I welcome criticism about it.
In my opinion, believing that Nazis were socialists, or that Nazism is a freer or milder political system than the ones we typically find practicing socialist economics, are major stumbling blocks to understanding the economics and history of the 20th century. To believe that Nazis were socialists is to believe that all socialists are evil authoritarians. If we want people to be properly educated, this will not do.

Some liberals will try to defend the idea that, because, back in the 1930s, The Economist magazine called Hitler’s policies “privatization”, that somehow means that all advocacy for private property rights, however defined, are secret codes for Nazism.
As if it’s not hard enough to criticize liberals for believing this, I also have to point out that Nazi sympathizers are often stupid enough to fall for this neoliberal propaganda, such that when they’re asked to more thoroughly explain their beliefs, they’ll support privatization, and even privatization the way the Nazis did it, seemingly unaware that it’s the state that performs that privatization, and that privatization does not necessarily result in either more complete private property rights, freer markets, or more financial freedom, which are what true conservatives are supposed to value.
If you can’t refuse to let the police into “your home” or “your business”, then it’s not really yours, and it’s not really private property. That goes whether they’re looking for you, your money, your possessions, evidence, your family, and, most importantly for the purposes of this discussion, Jewish people. Nazism had state-directed privatization, not real private property rights, not free markets.

I have to debunk one last claim, not because it’s common (it’s not), but because it borders on being offensive: “the worst thing about Nazism is that it’s socialist”. To me, this suggests that the person who said it believes that genocide is preferable to socialism, maybe even that genocide is the inevitable outcome of socialism. In fact, the same person who said this, also wrote that “genocide is only possible with mass institutional property rights violations; i.e., socialism”.
Yes, “mass institutional property rights violations” do make genocide easier to carry out. “Private property violations” is nowhere close to the actual definition of socialism. To say that socialism has to involve violations of private property rights is someone’s opinion, it’s subjective, and it depends a whole lot on how you define each one of those words (private, property, and rights).
To have mass property violations, you have to first have property protections. Yes, states can violate, and have violated people’s property rights in order to commit genocide, but to say genocide is only possible with mass institutionalized private property violations, is to suggest that our tribal ancestors never slaughtered other tribes en masse until the state made it possible, which in my judgment does appear to be the case.
That, as well as the fact that not all socialism is statist. Moreover, socialists would argue that it is the opposite economic philosophies – dirigisme and capitalism – which disregard private property rights. The deprivation of the workers’ rights to the full product of their labor, their negotiation rights, rights to union activity, rights to adequate compensation, a say in how their workplace is managed, a share of the company, and the right of a man to keep his land, community, and environment safe from people who want to pressure him to sell it so it can be stripped and exploited to destruction; are these not “private property rights”?
Hasn’t capitalism destroyed every notion we have that men and nature are more than just resources to be bought and sold? Haven’t capitalists destroyed property rights more than socialists have?

Saying “Nazis are socialists” is an insult to everyone who’s ever taken an interest in making sure we have a just economic arrangement; that workers’ rights to just compensation, and a safe and healthful work environment, be respected.
They say, “Nazis are socialists, because socialism and statism are the same thing”. Sometimes they’ll even cite the fact that Hitler was elected democratically, as a way to falsely equate representative democracy with socialism. This is to describe everyone who has ever run for political office as Nazis, and it is to describe the entire democratic process, and perhaps even voting itself, as Naziesque. And the democratic process, and representative democracy, came around a long time before the Nazi Party did.

Nazis betrayed socialists. Saying socialists are Nazis is like calling a hostage a criminal for cooperating with his captors, and then mocking him for being murdered by them. Yes, socialists fell for the “national socialist” dodge, but so did, for a time, America, Churchill, and Time Magazine (and especially the Bushes and Brown Brothers Harriman, until the Trading With the Enemy Act put an end to that).
The Nazis were corporate capitalists, and so are the Bushes. Nowhere in this video have I implied that Nazism and free markets are the same thing, nor that capitalism and the free market are the same thing. I do this because I don’t want anyone to conflate authoritarian right-wing economics with libertarian right-wing economics, and I don’t want that because I don’t want anyone to do the same with left-wing economics.
The economics, and the history, of everything that happened in the 20th century, will be so much easier to understand if the “Nazis are socialists” and “socialism is statism” crowd would see the world clearly for a moment, stop scaring people about what socialism is, and that the communism it wants is always authoritarian and results in mass murder. Don’t stoop to defending the Holocaust because you need to prove Stalin was a worse guy than Hitler. Nobody in their right mind thinks Stalin or Hitler did more good than harm to the world.

Socialism is not Nazism. If we elect Bernie Sanders and he implements socialism, he’s not going to kill all the Jews. If you think he will, then I will suspect you of wanting to kill Jews, because you’d have to be crazy, and as big a liar as Goebbels was, to allege such a thing.
I would really enjoy it if I could stop living in the non-stop internet World War II re-enactment, where there are Nazis and Soviet Communists everywhere, that you’ve created because some crazy politician has whipped you into an offensive or defensive frenzy.
One last thought: I don’t know if Richard Spencer is telling the truth about whether he supports “universal health care” (whatever that term means), but I’d suggest staying open to the possibility that he’s lying. But remember, too, that people define universal health care different. Trump at one point said he wanted universal health care. Who knows what either of them could mean by it; keep Obamacare? Universal care or universal insurance? Replace Tom Price with a student of Mengele? Too bad we can’t trust Trump or Spencer to tell us the truth about what universal health care means to them.
But if Spencer or Trump support something that they call universal health care, that fact alone is not going to make them socialists; the only thing that would make them socialists would be to change 80 to 100% of their world-view. Most socialists would likely advocate something they’d call universal health care, but the definition of socialism is societal management of the means of production; it says nothing about whether there should be a welfare state.
It is the prerogative of socialists today - not anybody else - to decide whether a welfare state is what socialism means, and to decide whether Democrats' criticism of certain unions is valid, and what to do about it. Socialists must not allow Alt-Righters and Nazi sympathizers – nor the saboteurs of the socialisms and communisms of the past – to tell people what socialism is and what it isn’t.
The whole difficulty in all of this revolves around trying to tell whether a self-described socialist is really telling the truth, and really a socialist; one who sees a free communism – not widespread discrimination and destruction – as socialism’s ultimate goal. The last thing that is going to help us understand all of this is to lump-together several ideologies, call them "collectivist" to distinguish them from whatever brand of supposed individualism you prefer, and base your entire argument on free word-association.



For counterpoints to the arguments I have presented here, please read George Rausman's November 2005 essay "Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian":
https://mises.org/library/why-nazism-was-socialism-and-why-socialism-totalitarian

or watch the 2016 video "The Nazis Have Socialist Roots", featuring Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgTZSjmUKRQ

and to learn more about my views on the relationship between neoliberal democracy and Nazism, read my January 2011 article "Obama and Hitler: Compare and Contrast":
http://aquarianagrarian.blogspot.com/2011/01/obama-vs-hitler-compare-and-contrast.html




Image not created by author



Incidentally, the purported Hitler quote in the above image is actually attributable to Joseph Goebbels. But if you keep claiming that Hitler said it, and repeat that lie over and over again, then eventually people will believe it.



Post-Script by the Author, October 10th, 2017:

Since the main body of the text include quotations by Joseph Goebbels and Gregor Strasser that were misattributed to Adolf Hitler, I find it necessary and helpful to include in this post-script some of the man's (Hitler's) own words on the matter.
In a 1923 interview with George Sylvester Viereck of The Economist - edited and republished in Liberty magazine in 1932, and The Guardian in 2007 - Hitler made the following comments on socialism, communism, and National Socialism:

"Why," I asked Hitler, "do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party programme is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to socialism?"
"Socialism," he retorted, putting down his cup of tea, pugnaciously, "is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists.
"Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.
"We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfillment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one."


Although some may be prepared to take these comments as proof that Hitler was a socialist; this is not so. What we call socialism today may or may not necessarily correspond or overlap with, the primitive form of communism which Hitler described (which, as Hitler points out, does not advocate the abolition of private property). This should make Marxism and National Socialism distinct enough.
In case I've still failed to make my case persuasively, I feel that the singular Hitler quotation "I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists" should more than sufficiently demonstrate that his plan was to distort and twist the ideals of the day's popular German Marxism, and rebrand it as a fascist, corporatist ideology, supporting racist ultranationalism and opposing internationalism, creating a parody of workerist socialism, which ironically allows for the joint exploitation of workers by the representatives of state and capital.
This is not to say, however, that none of those accusations can be leveled at Lenin and Stalin; many can. But debating the merits of Bolshevism vs. Nazism is not the primary focus of this article.



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          Post-Script by the Author, October 22nd, 2017:

          In case there is any lingering doubt left as to whether Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, Hitler's own words from Mein Kampf (although the book's authorship has been disputed) should suffice as an additional example of Hitler's own words demonstrating an intent to "take socialism away from the socialists":

         "Yes, how often did they not turn up in huge numbers, those supporters of the Red Flag, all previously instructed to smash up everything once and for all and put an end to these meetings. More often than not everything hung on a mere thread, and only the chairman's ruthless determination and the rough handling by our ushers baffled our adversaries' intentions. And indeed they had every reason for being irritated. 
The fact that we had chosen red as the colour for our posters sufficed to attract them to our meetings. The ordinary bourgeoisie were very shocked to see that, we had also chosen the symbolic red of Bolshevism and they regarded this as something ambiguously significant. The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists. The actual difference between Socialism and Marxism still remains a mystery to these people up to this day. The charge of Marxism was conclusively proved when it was discovered that at our meetings we deliberately substituted the words 'Fellow-countrymen and Women' for 'Ladies and Gentlemen' and addressed each other as 'Party Comrade'. We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims. 
We chose red for our posters after particular and careful deliberation, our intention being to irritate the Left, so as to arouse their attention and tempt them to come to our meetings – if only in order to break them up – so that in this way we got a chance of talking to the people."








These images not created by author



For the full text of Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf, visit:

For first-hand information on Nazi ideology, read the Nazi Party's original 25-point platform at:
https://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/25Points.html

For a counter-point to the views presented here, read George Reisman's 2005 article "Why Nazism Was Socialism, and Why Socialism is Totalitarian", for the Von Mises Institute:
https://mises.org/library/why-nazism-was-socialism-and-why-socialism-totalitarian

For another counter-point, read David Gordon's 2009 article "Nazi Economic Policy" for the Von Mises Institute:

To read my thoughts regarding the similarities between Nazism and neo-liberalism, read my 2011 article "Obama vs. Hitler: Compare and Contrast":
http://aquarianagrarian.blogspot.com/2011/01/obama-vs-hitler-compare-and-contrast.html



Originally Written on September 29th, 2017
Expanded on September 30th, 2017
Edited on September 30th, and October 4th, 10th, and 14th, 2017
Post-Scripts Written on October 10th and 22nd, 2017
Bottom Two Images Added on December 2nd, 2017

Originally Published on September 30th, 2017

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