Getting Jonah out of the whale

Jonah Goldberg and I agree on most things. I particularly admire how effective he has been at making widely known the historical truth that Fascism is a Leftist phenomenon. Who was it who said: "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics"? It was Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the prewar British Union of Fascists, speaking in the 1960s.

I myself did the academic groundwork of showing how the myth that conservatives were responsible for Nazism was concocted but that research was seen only by social science academics and the social sciences are overwhelmingly Leftist so my findings were no sooner seen than forgotten.

But despite his brilliant emergence from the whale of misinformation that surrounds us all when Fascism is discussed, Jonah still is not completely out. He declared himself not convinced by my recent post about Hitler not being a racist in any conventional sense. Who can blame him? For those inside the whale, it must be a claim redolent of mental illness: A total departure from reality. And yet it is plain historical truth. Most of the countries Hitler attacked were heavily populated by people with blue eyes and fair skin and he allied himself with the non-European Japanese. A pretty strange white racist! But was he a GERMAN racist, then? Not at all. Hitler was quite clear about the group he favoured: Aryans. And Aryans are mostly brown (Indians). But I will return to that in a moment.

What keeps Jonah from escaping the whale entirely is Hitler's antisemitism. He says that Hitler was so clearly anti-Jewish that that alone makes him a racist. I sympathize with Jonah there. As a Jewish person it must be hard for him to think straight about the Holocaust. But I am one of those lucky WASPs who have no such horrors in their past. In fact it was a Conservative-dominated WASP parliament that made a Jew (the outspokenly Jewish Benjamin Disraeli) their Prime Minister just 15 years before Hitler was born. So I can mention freely here something that Jonah knows as well as I do: Jews are not a race. It is only your religious heritage that makes you a Jew. And Israel's Law of the Return is even more expansive than that. It says that you are a Jew if you think you are. And that would have been as clear to Hitler as it is to me. Most of the Jews I have met have blue eyes -- and blue eyes are a Northern European phenomenon, not a Mediterranean one. And there were plenty of blue-eyed Jews in Hitler's Germany. If Hitler was a racist, how come he missed such a stark racial marker as that???

So what WAS Hitler's thinking about race? Let me repeat briefly here what I said previously: In his book Der Fuehrer, prewar Leftist writer Konrad Heiden corrects the now almost universal assumption that Hitler's idea of race was biologically-based. The Nazi conception of race traces, as is well-known, to the work of Houston Stewart Chamberlain. But what did Chamberlain say about race? It should not by now be surprising that he said something that sounds thoroughly Leftist. Anthropologist Robert Gayre summarizes Chamberlain's ideas as follows:
"On the contrary he taught (like many "progressives" today) that racial mixture was desirable, for, according to him, it was only out of racial mixture that the gifted could be created. He considered that the evidence of this was provided by the Prussian, whom he saw as the superman, resulting from a cross between the German (or Anglo-Saxon "German") and the Slav. From this Chamberlain went on to argue that the sum of all these talented people would then form a "race," not of blood but of "affinity."

So the Nazi idea of race rejected biology just as thoroughly as modern Leftist ideas about race do! If that seems all too jarring to believe, Gayre goes on to discuss the matter at length.

And in accepting the notions of Chamberlain, Hitler was, as usual, simply accepting the wisdom of his day. Chamberlain was immensely influential in Germany long before Hitler came along. The Kaiser was so impressed by Chamberlain that he sent free copies of Chamberlain's book to people whom he thought needed it. But in case anybody questions the influence of Chamberlain on Hitler, let me give an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Chamberlain himself lived to see his ideas begin to bear fruit. Adolf Hitler, while still growing as a political figure in Germany, visited him several times (in 1923 and in 1926, together with Joseph Goebbels) at the Wagner family's property in Bayreuth. Chamberlain, paralyzed and despondent after Germany's losses in World War I, wrote to Hitler after his first visit in 1923:
" Most respected and dear Hitler, ... It is hardly surprising that a man like that can give peace to a poor suffering spirit! Especially when he is dedicated to the service of the fatherland. My faith in Germandom has not wavered for a moment, though my hopes were - I confess - at a low ebb. With one stroke you have transformed the state of my soul. That Germany, in the hour of her greatest need, brings forth a Hitler - that is proof of her vitality ... that the magnificent Ludendorff openly supports you and your movement: What wonderful confirmation! I can now go untroubled to sleep... May God protect you!"

Chamberlain joined the Nazi Party and contributed to its publications. Their journal Voelkischer Beobachter dedicated five columns to praising him on his 70th birthday, describing Foundations as the "gospel of the Nazi movement".

So why, then, did Hitler make such a scapegoat of the Jews? To understand that, you need to know that Nazism/Fascism belongs to the "One big happy family" version of Leftism ("All men are brothers", "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer", "We are the ones we have been waiting for"), which derives principally from Hegel. The other version is the class-war version principally promulgated by Karl Marx, who claimed to have stood Hegel on his head.

But immediately after WWI, Hitler's beloved Volk ("people", i.e. Germans. Note that there is a perfectly good word in German for race -- Rasse -- but Hitler did not use it for Germans) was bitterly divided between Communists and others. And that was the worst possible news for a "One big happy family" Leftist. So Hitler needed to find an explanation for that. And the explanation that suited best was to say that Germans were divided only because many of them were being misled by someone -- Jews. And in a sort of a way, he was right. Jews then were as generally Leftist as they are now and many of the class war-preachers in Vienna at the time were in fact Jews. And in Mein Kampf Hitler carefully sets out evidence of that. So Jews were, as ever, the convenient scapegoat. In its explanation for Middle-Eastern turmoil, the modern-day Left has Israel in that role to this day. The more things change ....

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them