Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Nazis were Marxists... ?

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, with the attendant risks, I stumbled across an article on the American Thinker site which claims that Nazi ideology is actually closer to Marxism rather than right-wing ideology as is commonly expressed.

From the article:

The Nazis were Marxists, no matter what our tainted academia and corrupt media wishes us to believe. Nazis, Bolsheviks, the Ku Klux Klan, Maoists, radical Islam and Facists -- all are on the Left, something that should be increasingly apparent to decent, honorable people in our times. The Big Lie which places Nazis on some mythical Far Right was created specifically so that there would be a bogeyman manacled on the wrists of those who wish us to move "too far" in the direction of Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater.

Obviously some incendiary commentary, but further on there is this:

The first and only platform of the National Socialist German Workers Party called for very Leftist economic policies. Among other things, this platform called for the death penalty for war profiteering, the confiscation of all income unearned by work, the acquisition of a controlling interest by the people in all big business organizations and so on. Otto Strasser, the brother and fellow Nazi of Gregor Strasser, who was the second leading Nazi for much of the Nazi Party's existence, in his 1940 book, Hitler and I revealed his ideology before he found a home in the Nazi Party. In his own words Otto Strasser wrote: "I was a young student of law and economics, a Left Wing student leader."

Consider the following text from that platform adopted in Munich on February 20, 1920 and ask yourself whether it sounds like the notional Right or the very real Left:

"We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living. The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within its confines and be for the good of all. Therefore, we demand an end to the power of the financial interests. We demand profit sharing in big business. We demand a broad extension of care for the aged. The government must undertake the improvement of public health."

I have to admit, "broad extension of care for the aged" sounds like "socialized medicine" to me. The anti-business / capitalist "end to the power of financial interests" also hardly sounds like the invective of current right-wing types.

Further on, there's these two quotes:

Consider these remarks of Nazi leaders. Hitler on May 1, 1927:

"We are socialists. We are enemies of today's capitalistic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

Goebbels, who was the only major Nazi leader who stayed with Hitler to the very end, wrote in Der Angriff in 1928:

"The worker in a capitalist state - that is his greatest misfortune - no longer a human being, no longer a creator, no longer a shaper of things. He has become a machine."

Neither of those strike me as particularly right-wing, at least as is understood today.

I'm not sure how much credence to give the American Thinker article, but it does seem an interesting idea.

Both Nazism and Marxism led to totalitarian states which practiced wide scale democide; even if one could say one is right-wing and the other left-wing, it's not like either ideology is somehow exonerated by that distinction.

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