By JR on Monday, September 05, 2011
I reproduce below the first page of a recent 4 page article in "Forbes" that introduces the same ideas that appear in my monograph and Jonah Goldberg's book on the subject.
The main thing that the article below is weak on is pointing out that many things considered Rightist today (such as patriotism) were strongly Leftist in the prewar era -- and in fact continued to be so until some time after the war. JFK's famous quotation from Pericles ("Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country) was probably the last gasp of genuine patriotism on the American Left.
And Leftists of all sorts were great advocates of eugenics in Hitler's day. And even Karl Marx was a great antisemite. Hitler was in fact a fairly mainstream leftist by the standards of his time. He just applied German thoroughness to Leftist ideas
The author below does make one slight mention of it but one of the most damning things about the American Left of the prewar era is that they were in fact a major source of Hitler's ideas. I set out the details of that at some length here.
The article below is unreferenced but my monograph on the subject should supply all the references anyone needs --JR
By Bill Flax
“The line between fascism and Fabian socialism is very thin. Fabian socialism is the dream. Fascism is Fabian socialism plus the inevitable dictator.” John T. Flynn
Numerous commentators have raised alarming comparisons between America’s recent economic foibles and Argentina’s fall “from breadbasket to basket case.” The U.S. pursues a similar path with her economy increasingly ensnared under the growing nexus of government control. Resources are redistributed for vote-buying welfare schemes, patronage style earmarks, and graft by unelected bureaucrats, quid pro quo with unions, issue groups and legions of lobbyists.
In Argentina, everyone acknowledges that fascism, state capitalism, corporatism – whatever – reflects very leftwing ideology. Eva Peron remains a liberal icon. President Obama’s Fabian policies (Keynesian economics) promise similar ends. His proposed infrastructure bank is just the latest gyration of corporatism. Why then are fascists consistently portrayed as conservatives?
In the Thirties, intellectuals smitten by progressivism considered limited, constitutional governance anachronistic. The Great Depression had apparently proven capitalism defunct. The remaining choice had narrowed between communism and fascism. Hitler was about an inch to the right of Stalin. Western intellectuals infatuated with Marxism thus associated fascism with the Right.
Later, Marxists from the Frankfurt School popularized this prevailing sentiment. Theodor Adorno in The Authoritarian Personality devised the “F” scale to demean conservatives as latent fascists. The label “fascist” has subsequently meant anyone liberals seek to ostracize or discredit.
Fascism is an amorphous ideology mobilizing an entire nation (Mussolini, Franco and Peron) or race (Hitler) for a common purpose. Leaders of industry, science, education, the arts and politics combine to shepherd society in an all encompassing quest. Hitler’s premise was a pure Aryan Germany capable of dominating Europe.
While he feinted right, Hitler and Stalin were natural bedfellows. Hitler mimicked Lenin’s path to totalitarian tyranny, parlaying crises into power. Nazis despised Marxists not over ideology, but because they had betrayed Germany in World War I and Nazis found it unconscionable that German communists yielded fealty to Slavs in Moscow.
The National Socialist German Workers Party staged elaborate marches with uniformed workers calling one another “comrade” while toting tools the way soldiers shoulder rifles. The bright red Nazi flag symbolized socialism in a “classless, casteless” Germany (white represents Aryanism). Fascist central planning was not egalitarian, but it divvied up economic rewards very similarly to communism: party membership and partnering with the state.
Where communists generally focused on class, Nazis fixated on race. Communists view life through the prism of a perpetual workers’ revolution. National Socialists used race as a metaphor to justify their nation’s engagement in an existential struggle.