Modern European Nationalism is Parliamentary Nationalism not Fascism

Animated by the great spirit of Confucius we continue with our duty towards the great cause of rectifying the names.

The name we select to rectify today is Nationalism as it is understood within the context of contemporary Western Europe.  The question around its name is whether the European nationalists of today are correctly equated with Fascists.

The answer is no; their historical parallels are to the Anglo-Saxon model of Parliamentary Nationalism, or Democratic Nationalism, particularly the American Nationalist model.  Parliamentary Nationalism is the advancement of the interests of the nation state combined with robust democratic and property rights for citizens.

If the connection between European Parliamentary Nationalists and American Nationalism is not obvious to conservative Americans it is because they take it for granted that American Democracy will pursue nationalistic objectives and remain Democratic.  At the same time American conservatives never associate the actual practice of American Democracy with the word ‘Nationalism’.

This is not the case for the history of Continental Europe where Nationalism has only recently been tied to constitutional rights.

The most significant difference between the history of American Nationalism (known commonly as just ‘Democracy’ or ‘American Democracy’) and all forms of European nationalism has been how each region transitioned to a nationalist system.

After America won the War of the American Secession (wrongly called the American Revolutionary War) our transition to ‘Parliamentary’ (so to speak, in America’s case) Nationalism was immediate and seamless.  Independent from the Old World’s politics, class stratification, and inherited privileges, the founders were free to fashion a Republican system of government on a legislative blank slate.  Perhaps most importantly, the nation’s elite embraced this new Constitutional framework because membership in the elite was no longer legally dependent on aristocratic bloodlines in a new nation where royal titles were not legally recognized.

Continental Europe’s transition to Nationalism was, not seamless, but chaotic at times and hampered by inertia at others.  Before the Cold War, European Nationalism went through three stages.

The first begins with the French Revolution.  The Monarchists and Imperialists of this era – who were best exemplified by the 18th century Imperialism of Metternich – opposed ethnic Nationalism because it was then used as a weapon by the French Revolutionary Left and their immediate successors to break apart ethnically pan-European states.

The first period ends and the second begins in the mid-19th century when Napoleon III, Bismarck, and other Imperialists embraced ethnic Nationalism as a way to solidify their own states and centralize the governmental power they felt was needed to rule their increasingly complex industrial nations.

The third stage starts with the destruction of Imperialistic Nationalism and the rise of Parvenu Nationalism, or, what is more commonly known as Fascism.  Parvenu Nationalism filled the power vacuum created when the credibility of the Ancien Régime died at Verdun and the Somme.  Its leadership was drawn from the middle and working classes. The most prominent form of Fascism to emerge was Nazism.  This form of Nationalism took the worst habits of WWI era Imperialistic Nationalism – militarism, colonization, ethnic supremacy, and centralized government – to genocidal extremes and welded it with demagoguery and cults of personality.

The weight of its excesses brought about its downfall as well as the downfall of any other viable form of Nationalism.

After the Cold War a fourth type of European Nationalism developed – Parliamentary Nationalism.  This Nationalism is by definition neither Imperialist nor Fascist because it is not militaristic, does not seek to strip mine its neighbors of resources, or enslave populations.  Instead its objectives are preserving democratic rights which have been infringed upon by an unaccountable EU tyranny, peaceful economic exchanges with their European neighbors, lacks all desire for wars of conquest, and opposes immigration.

Without militaristic tendencies, and with their support of constitutional rights, there is no reason for modern European Nationalists to be equated with the strands of Nationalism that led to WWI and WWII, or be viewed as anything but perfectly legitimate and normal political organizations.

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Modern European Nationalism is Parliamentary Nationalism not Fascism”

  1. You’re right, of course. But the federalists within Europe want to demonise nationalists of all political colours, partly to demoralise and silence their opponents. Much the same as the Democrats have been doing to Trump supporters. Fortunately, the people of Europe are now fighting back. There’s an interesting video on Youtube of Milo Y. making an acceptance speech for a David Horowitz award a couple of months back. In the video, he highlights the wilful submission of Republicans to SJWs in the past few decades, and how the fightback has now begun in US colleges etc. I’m not sure European university students have yet started to unshackle themselves from the chains of SJW oppression, and European young adults seem to remain heavily in favour of the EU and integration. The universities and academia are where the battle lines need to be drawn.

  2. The media and political elites complaining about “populism” is both ironic and Orwellian. What is democracy if not “Popular Government”?

    Their language betrays them. The EU is an oligarchy.

    TUJ. You have defined Nationalism, and you outlined features of what you take to be Fascism. However, I believe the article could benefit with a clear definition.

    The problem is that Fascism is defunct an ideology (or is it?). Secondly, did it actually represent something clear, as opposed to being cobbled together opportunistically?

    I suppose the key example is Italian Fascism.

    The other issue, since you mentioned it, is Nazism.

    The left claim that it is an example of the extreme right. Recent readings and reflections have caused me to consider that claim.

    I see Nazism as a kind of one off, a hybrid of left and right elements. In short, I see Nazism as a modernist ideology, a new political religion.

    Clearly, it is miles away from anything Le Pen or the AFD is advertising.

  3. @The lioncub

    You’re right, of course. But the federalists within Europe want to demonise nationalists of all political colours, partly to demoralise and silence their opponents. Much the same as the Democrats have been doing to Trump supporters. Fortunately, the people of Europe are now fighting back.

    Which makes it all the more imperative to equate contemporary European Nationalism with Parliamentary Democracy. The stronger the link between the two is made, the weaker the link between Nationalism and Fascism in the minds of the European voter.

    As terms “Parliamentary Nationalism” or “Democratic Nationalism” have the virtue of being memorable while also being correct in their history.

    The broader history of Nationalism is a field waiting for the Right to play on because the Left has chosen to occupy the narrow ground of Nationalism from the period of 1918-1945 which, memorable a period though it was, provides little information about pre-1914 European politics: Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm were Nationalists but few Liberals mentally equate them with Fascistic Nationalists despite the bleak, nihilistic horrors of the trenches.

    Just imagine if this definition takes hold you will one day be able to answer Spaniards who ask what kind of Fascist you are that you are a Farageist.

    @DarkReformation

    TUJ. You have defined Nationalism, and you outlined features of what you take to be Fascism. However, I believe the article could benefit with a clear definition.

    I categorize all variants of Fascism as Conservative for reasons similar to those made by MM and Larry Auster.

    Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco had no interest in overthrowing the older elites as the Left always has. In their systems the traditional institutions were to be assimilated into their new political order provided the leaders of the institutions acquiesced to the rule of these new parvenu upstarts.

    Those aristocrats who resisted – such as the heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire forced into exile when Hitler ordered him put to death, Otto von Habsburg – were usually pushed aside either by force or political blacklisting. Hitler was the most ruthless at repressing disagreeable elements of the Ancien Régime, but all three of the major Fascist heads of state preferred not to antagonize high society if it could be avoided.

    For their part, the German aristocracy chose to put up with Hitler and try to restrain his worst instincts because they were afraid to directly seize the reigns of power for themselves after their failures in the Great War and Wiemar.

    I have never found the argument Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco were Leftists because they were economically Socialists persuasive. The economy of Nazi Germany was an odd mix of Socialism, numerous Capitalistic nods to upper class Industrial interests, looting the wealth of conquered territories, and employing slave labor in manufacturing.

    Italy and Franco, as usual, did not go to Hitler’s extremes but they too happily employed Capitalistic policies whenever it was convenient for them.

    Bismarck used Socialism opportunistically as well; but Bismarck was no Liberal.

    The problem is that Fascism is defunct an ideology (or is it?). Secondly, did it actually represent something clear, as opposed to being cobbled together opportunistically?

    This is certainly an obstacle to a correct, non-Leftist, definition of Fascism. But part of the reason you are all here is to see this sort of thing sorted out correctly, yes?

    Like their economics, Fascists were opportunistic in most aspects of their governance and their existence as a serious political forces was too brief for them to iron out their internal contradictions .

    This acknowledged, we can nonetheless trace out common elements that are distinct from Leftists aside from warfare and plundering defeated nations –

    1) Fascist economics was a hybrid of Capitalism and Socialism; Capitalistic policies pacified elites while Socialist programs won the favor of the working class.
    2) The party leadership was overwhelmingly drawn from middle and working class parvenus.
    3) In previous eras, when European Royalty still commanded authority, no Fascist leader would have risen to absolute power.
    4) Despite not being derived from the high ranks, Fascist leadership preferred to assimilate the existing Old Guard into their systems.
    5) Fascist cults of personality openly emphasized the self-sacrifice and obedience of the collective to the will of one demagogic ruler. Of course Stalin had his own cult of personality as did FDR, but both did so while presenting themselves as champions of universalism; the Fascists never pretended to be anything but absolute rulers.

    Clearly, it is miles away from anything Le Pen or the AFD is advertising.

    Even if it wanted to AfD could not afford the manpower losses that would result from a militaristic rampage across Europe.

    If Hitler himself had simply kept his promise to stop at the Sudetenland and tended to internal affairs he would have been harmless; mostly harmless even to German Jews who could have migrated out of Germany (two thirds did) for some years and then returned after Hitler died and passions in the Fatherland calmed down.

    The one modern political party that has the most direct lineage to the Nazi Party is Austria’s FPÖ. In 1999 when it was leading a government headed by Jörg Haider it really did nothing that would have actually threatened Europe.

  4. Once again, thanks for the response.

    I understand the rhetorical strategy of labelling Fascism and Nazism as left, but here we are interested in getting things right (“Right? Right? As Alex De Large would say).

    The task is to call things by their proper names; names that refer to actual political, moral, economic beliefs, assumptions, values etc. (Which is the Confucian task.)

    There are three kinds of political inquiry:

    Historical and descriptive. (The study of past political events, political structures, ideologies and the causes and conditions that gave rise to them.)

    Scientific and descriptive. (Current day description and causal analysis of political structures, beliefs and behaviours, and the conditions that give rise to them.)

    Philosophical. The study of the fundamental assumptions by which we believe, value and act. In politics, we can conduct this in a *similar* way to either Aristotle or Plato.

    The Platonic, sub specie aeternitatis, approach would assume that there are some kind of perfect form of X. Some necessary and sufficient set of conditions for Fascism, or Nazism or Conservatism or Leftism.

    With the Aristotelean approach, things are little more messy — the inquiry is empirical, contingent, inductive, and finally deductive.

    I say this because since we are doing philosophy, we must keep in mind not to become unmoored from experience, history and the contingent, opportunistic, nature of politics.

    So, with that put out of way, let’s proceed.

    One of my chief influences is Sowell’s Conflict of Political Visions. There, he offers the best philosophical treatment of right and left to my mind. To simplify:

    All political philosophies contain:

    A: Assumptions about human nature.
    B: Assumptions about the nature of social, political and economic problems.
    C: Assumptions about the design and function of states, and the epistemic and moral rationality of actors, managers and rulers within states.

    The Right:

    A: Human nature is real, stable, permanent and innate, which is to say not completely socially constructed. Human knowledge, virtue, rationality and abilities are unevenly distributed, and always imperfect. Humans are constrained by various limitations placed on them by nature and society.
    B: Humans exist in a perpetual state of conflict and cooperation over scarce resources. Perfect solutions, in which conflict is eliminated, regarding various problems concerning resources are impossible — only trade offs exist.
    C: The role of the state, and the “mangers”, is to create a system which produces sufficiently desirable trade offs concerning scarce resources. In short, to constrain conflict (violence mostly), in favour of win-win pay-offs, that maintain stability and functionality.

    Psychologically speaking, the right present epistemic attitudes of caution, skepticism, prudence, even pessimism regarding human abilities, ideological novelty, and that one or two brilliant individuals with their philosophies can solve human problems.

    Sowell calls the right as having a “constrained” vision of human nature. Later, he calls it the “tragic vision.” I adjust this with following: if you start with “constrained” assumptions about human nature, then it follows that you will have a “tragic” vision of politics.

    Thinkers in this tradition are: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Smith, Madison, Hamilton, Darwin, Hayek, Oakshott, Berlin, Richard Posner, John Gray and Thomas Sowell.

    The Left (I have written this elsewhere.)

    A1: Humans have no nature. What nature it has is entirely socially or culturally constructed. (Strong thesis.) Humans have some biological and psychological (innate) dispositions, traits and abilities; however, culture and social conditioning can completely override them (Weak thesis). A2: Human nature is, in its “natural” state, intrinsically good (altruistic, and equalitarian — communist.)

    ( These claims, of course, contradict each other, so the left is off to a bad start already. At least, it will have to jettison one or the other.)

    B1: Social problems, war, crime, poverty and inequality, result from poorly designed (traditional, religious, or non-rational) social orders. B2: Problems result from B1 and or unjust (as opposed to poor designed) social ordering.

    (If humans have no nature, or if they are by nature good, then how does unjust social ordering exist? The general answer is greed, or the desire for status, which is a result of property. But then, how or why did that all come about? Cue political theodicy — an attempt to explain away the fact that humans are naturally greedy, selfish, ignorant, impulsive, violent, irrational, vain and ambitious. )

    C1: All problems can be solved by A: Absolute power in the hands of a collective, rational, enlightened, virtuous elite (managers, or priests) who will govern for the good of the whole. B: Equal or “fair” distribution of resources. C: Education. D: Regulation of all aspects of human life.

    The “unconstrained” view of human nature allows the possibility of radical transformation of society via the exercise of “articulated” and intentional “rationality” by the enlightened elites in order to solve social problems. Thus, the unconstrained vision leads to the “Utopian” vision of politics.

    Thinkers in this tradition are: Plato, Rousseau, Godwin, Marx, Polyani, Keynes, Rawls, Friedan.

    (The central dilemma, sharpened by the failure of Communism, for the left is between Liberty and Equality, and between communism/socialism or uniformity (everyone is the same) and welfarism (the “fat” is skimmed from the haves and the productive towards the have-nots and the unproductive).

    My thought is this. A is false. Both the strong and weak thesis of A1 is inaccurate in sufficient strength to collapse the entire philosophy. There is a universal, biologically and psychologically based, human nature.

    The question is how does Fascism and Nazism match this analysis?

    Fascism and Nazism have some elements of constrained or right wing view of human nature — that it is not entirely socially constructed, but natural.

    Yet, I believe, certainly with the case of Nazism, that they embraced the second and third aspects of leftism or the unconstrained and utopian vision of politics.

    Fascism and Nazism believed that problems could be solved by an all powerful (totalitarian) state and “enlightened” managers acting for the good of the whole collective. Paradoxically, the Nazis and Fascists embraced conflict — but in war with other nations. Within the nation (collective), all social problems could be solved.

    They were utopian or “unconstrained” in their vision of radical transformation of both human nature (eugenics in the Nazi case) and society and politics. In short, by offering a new “political religion” with men like Hitler and Mao and Stalin serving as new “prophets”.

    Psychologically, Hitler appeared to be the same as Lenin, Stalin and Mao: all knowing, all powerful and all good — with a supreme confidence in their plans for radical transformation.

    Finally, Kunheldt-Leddhin argues that Nazism and Communism were leftist (for a variety of reasons), but one of the chief reasons being their drive for social uniformity.

    So, that is why I think Nazism is a hybrid of left and right. However, I believe it has more left than right in it. Again, the best description is that it was a modernist monster, a “political religion.” Needless to say, today’s left, as with yesteryear, shares all the features of being a “political religion” — because it is.

    Furthermore, I don’t think Nazism can be called in any way conservative. Conservatism simply means to conserve. Psychologically, conservatives are skeptical and resistant to change. The Nazis actually wanted to destroy and to transform; also, they were anything but skeptical, or resistant to change (how progressive!).

    A person of the right, however, may wish to change quite a lot of things.

    I’m not being snide, but a better name for your project would be Hamiltonian restorationism or “Hamiltonian restoration”. Or right-wing reformation (one reason I call myself “Dark Reformation”).

    Best

    DR

  5. Further thoughts. Nazism and Communism, like progressivism (paradoxically and hypocritically), speaks in the name of the demos or “people”, which is to say it is democratic (General will). The right are, however, skeptical to deeply critical of democracy. Hume was skeptical of human rationality, “superstition”, “enthusiasm” and “faction”. I believe Madison was also skeptical of “democracy”; furthermore, the founders did not want “factions” or “parties” (yes?).

    Some questions:

    1: What is the relationship, as you see it, between conservatism and right-wing political philosophy (theory and practice)?

    2: What is the relationship between democracy and nationalism; and democracy and conservatism?

  6. They were utopian or “unconstrained” in their vision of radical transformation of both human nature (eugenics in the Nazi case) and society and politics. In short, by offering a new “political religion” with men like Hitler and Mao and Stalin serving as new “prophets”.

    Was transformation of human nature actually a goal? Or was their ideal citizen one who embodied the most militaristic tendencies of human nature?

    I believe it was more of the latter, and this kind of transformation is not Leftist. Liberalism desires complete reform of all facets of human nature; Nazism as I see it sought to harness the combative aspects of man under a strict social hierarchy. Since this instinct already exists to varying degrees, the conditioning methods used to reconstruct society along those lines were not Liberal because they did not conflict with human nature.

    In the course of this project the Nazis did tear down some of the existing social fabric of society; and these actions have given the impression Nazism was socially Leftist. Indeed I would agree it was Leftist to some extent. But I would explain this as more having to do with them preferring certain social structures over others. Likewise their eugenics program would not have redesigned man completely but instead increased the frequency of particularly desirable traits; intelligence, strength, height, etc.

    Because the Nazis believed in innate human characteristics their social conditioning turned out to be more effective (and therefore sustainable had they won) than Communism because the Nazi molding of society hued to realistic, selectively chosen, parameters.

    Psychologically, Hitler appeared to be the same as Lenin, Stalin and Mao: all knowing, all powerful and all good — with a supreme confidence in their plans for radical transformation.

    Ah, true.

    But Communist dictators unlike Hitler had to explain why their societies, in contradiction to Communist theory, still had hierarchies and central governments if their various Revolutions had supposedly abolished class. This contradiction is one of the consistent themes of Orwell who, as a Socialist, wrestled with the question: Why did hierarchy and social stratification perpetuate themselves in Communist states if Communism was supposed to end class differences?

    The conservative easily answers that class differences perpetuated because class is an inherent part of human nature that will always reemerge in new forms.

    But Stalin, Mao, and the others couldn’t say that because they were supposed to be adhering to Communist ideology. In response to allegations that Stalin had betrayed the Revolution because he had not dissolved the government and Russia was still hierarchical, Stalin made a good point, at least within the confines of theory. His response was that under classic Marxist theory there is no explanation for how a Communist nation can survive in a world where some nations are Communist and some are Capitalistic without the former retaining a government that can direct Revolution, provide for military defenses against hostile Capitalists. Once Communism took over the world, he continued, the Soviet government could only then be safely dissolved; until then a central government would be needed as a transitory step.

    Hitler, unlike Stalin, never had to constantly explain why his will alone was the will of the nation because his ideology imagined a rigid social hierarchy with a single Führer at the peak ruling forever.

    I’m not being snide, but a better name for your project would be Hamiltonian restorationism or “Hamiltonian restoration”. Or right-wing reformation (one reason I call myself “Dark Reformation”).

    I’ve already labeled it restorationist!

    https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/immigration-restriction-and-hispanic-population-growth/

    The Federalist Party Restoration as the ruling wing of the Republican Party has commenced.

  7. I believe Madison was also skeptical of “democracy”; furthermore, the founders did not want “factions” or “parties” (yes?).

    Some of the founders leaned towards that sentiment, but parties emerged anyway because they were inevitable and Hamilton himself founded the first American political party – whose emblem we proudly display.

    Philosophy I am not very well read in; I much prefer practice and my conservatism leans towards, err, pragmatism…

    2: What is the relationship between democracy and nationalism; and democracy and conservatism?

    It’s been a perpetual struggle for the right to describe Democracy and Nationalism because it has, as discussed, taken many different forms since the French Revolution. It also have varying regional constructs.

    Even in Britain the relationship between Nationalism and Democracy for the Right isn’t clear because your Parliamentary Democracy was shaped by the Empire. Without the Empire, but with the British nation remaining, what should be the relationship of Parliamentary rights to British Conservatives? No one has answered this and this lead to mistakes such as trying to reviving Britain under “Europe”, Fabian Socialism, and others.

  8. Ah, Yes! Restoration indeed.

    Ok, so we are in agreement that Nazism was a hybrid. However, you consider it more right than left, and I consider it more left than right.

    I presume then that you would withdraw your claim that it represented any kind of conservatism?

    If so, then the question of what distinguishes the right-wing from conservatism, and between a right-wing reactionary and a conservative remains to be addressed.

  9. (1/2 Theory)

    Human Nature and the Different Visions.

    Here is Sowell:

    “Instead of regarding man’s nature as something that could or should be changed, Smith attempted to determine how the moral and social benefits desired could be produced in the most efficient way, within that constraint. Smith approached the production and distribution of moral behavior in much the same way he would later approach the production and distribution of material goods. Although he was a professor of moral philosophy, his thought processes were already those of an economist. However, the constrained vision is by no means limited to economists. Smith’s contemporary in politics, Edmund Burke, perhaps best summarized the constrained vision from a political perspective when he spoke of “a radical infirmity in all human contrivances,”5 an infirmity inherent in the fundamental nature of things. Similar views were expressed by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers:
    It is the lot of all human institutions, even those of the most perfect kind, to have defects as well as excellencies—ill as well as good propensities. This results from the imperfection of the Institutor, Man.6”

    Excerpt From: Sowell, Thomas. “A Conflict of Visions: Idealogical Origins of Political Struggles.”

    Comment: Human nature is not something to be changed, but to be trained, disciplined and mastered — in other words constrained. Constrained by “systemic social processes”.

    The Right understand the greedy, violent and vain nature of man but seek to channel it into moral and productive ends; aggression and violence, meanwhile, is only to be cultivated in certain circumstances, chiefly war. It is certainly NOT to be glorified and encouraged, as Nazism did. (There is a tension here, to be sure — one that Lee Harris writes elegantly about in Civilisation and its Enemies as the paradox of Civilisation.)

    Sowell on the Unconstrained vision:

    “It is unnecessary for the unconstrained vision that every single human being individually and spontaneously arrive at this ultimate level of intellectual and moral solution, much less that they do so at the same time or pace. On the contrary, those in the tradition of the unconstrained vision almost invariably assume that some intellectual and moral pioneers advance far beyond their contemporaries, and in one way or another lead them toward ever-higher levels of understanding and practice. These intellectual and moral pioneers become the surrogate decision-makers, pending the eventual progress of mankind to the point where all can make social decisions. A special variant in Godwin is that each individual acts essentially as a social surrogate, making decisions individually but with social responsibility rather than personal benefit uppermost in his thinking. This tradition of “social responsibility” by businessmen, universities, and others implies a capacity to discern the actual social ramifications of one’s acts—an assumption implicitly made in the unconstrained vision and explicitly rejected by those with the constrained vision.”

    “Central to the unconstrained vision is the belief that within human limits lies the potentiality for practical social solutions to be accepted rather than imposed. Those with the unconstrained vision may indeed advocate more draconian impositions, for a transitional period, than would be accepted by those with the constrained vision. But the very willingness of some of those with the unconstrained vision to countenance such transitional methods is predicated precisely on the belief that this is only necessary transitionally, on the road to far more freedom and general well-being than exist currently”

    A: “Intellectual or moral pioneers.”
    B: “Surrogate decision makers.”
    C: “…capacity to discern the actual social ramifications of one’s acts—an assumption implicitly made in the unconstrained vision and explicitly rejected by those with the constrained vision.” (Free market v central planning. Legal formalism v legal activism.)

    In short, those with the unconstrained and utopian vision (leftist, religious, idealist, progressive) assume the power of “articulated rationality” embodied in “moral pioneers” who intentional and directly act in ways to bring about desired political, social, moral or economic objectives (like with central planning).

    Those with the opposite vision (right and conservative ) place their trust in established social systems (free market, common law and traditional religion or morality).

  10. (2/2 Facts and Conclusions).

    Now, let’s examine some text from Jonathan Glover’s Humanity a Moral History of the 20th Century:

    The Will To Create Mankind Anew.

    “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”

    Excerpt From: Glover, Jonathan. “Humanity.”

    Note the “articulated rationality” and intentional, direct intervention for goals:

    “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”

    Excerpt From: Glover, Jonathan. “Humanity.”

    Man is Natural, but also Social — Hitler forgot this; furthermore, Hitler contradicts himself when he assumes that he wiser than either Nature or Society (an unconstrained thinker, or conservative would never assume such arrogance). See:

    “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 Nazis’ aim was to ‘improve’ the ‘race’, to tidy up the world by killing people who did not fit the biological blueprint.”

    “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.”

    Progressives did the exact same thing:

    “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.15”

    Excerpt From: Glover, Jonathan. “Humanity.”

    “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.17”

    “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’.””

    Excerpt From: Glover, Jonathan. “Humanity.”

    “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.”

    Excerpt From: Glover, Jonathan. “Humanity.”

    Commentary:

    1: Epistemic and moral (government house utilitarian) arrogance is central to the unconstrained and utopian (left) than conservative, right wing and constrained, tragic vision.

    2: Mao, and the post-Mao Communists also interfered in human reproduction; Mao wanted lots of children; Deng wanted one child policy — they got it, and the consequences have been both good and bad (we will have to wait and see, however).

    3: It struck me that the Nazi concern with race has similar patterns to the progressive fear over the environment and also the need to eliminate undesirable beliefs and behaviours “racism” etc as “unfit” or “undesirable”

    4: I conclude that the Nazis wanted to radically transform human nature. Furthermore, though I have not quoted it, the Nazis also adopted the Nietezschean concept of “self-creation” to become “new men.” This, almost existentialist, theme is something I think the Brahmins pursue in their quest to create their own new selves (transgender is the most notable).

    5: And so on…to all society…. I believe Hitler planned to do away with Christianity completely after the war. He rejoiced with Speer in the destruction of the cities, since they would need to be re-created.

    Kuehnelt-Leddihn:

    “National Socialism was ideologically the full heir, and probably the most complete synthesis, of all the ideas springing directly or indirectly from the French Revolution; it was a fulfilment, not a “relapse into the Dark Ages” or a “putting back of the clock.”879 In order to come to a fuller understanding of this terrifying phenomenon, which can boast of few genuinely German traits besides its gruesome thoroughness, it is necessary to analyze current Marxist interpretations more thoroughly, and to strip them of all the additional propaganda which made nazism more hateful to the American masses and thus bolstered “morale” during the war.880”

    Excerpt From: Erik Ritter Kuehnelt-Leddihn. “Liberty or Equality.”

    “The modern totalitarian parties are all fundamentally “democratic.” They have all insisted on their right to use the democratic label. And each has been vocal in representing its political leader as the personification of “everybody,” of the “common man,” of the entire nation. (Among the Nazis, the notion that the Leader of the single party was not the organ of the state, but the very personification of the community, was put forward by the “most advanced” National Socialist theorists.875)

    “At the beginning of this modern trend stands the French Revolution—or more precisely, its second, illiberal phase. Hitler declared: “This revolution of ours is the exact counterpart of the French Revolution.”876 The hatred of minorities, the collective condemnation of whole groups, classes and races, the judgment of individuals according to status rather than according to personality or conviction which characterize the great totalitarian movements of today, received in those days their most concrete formulation. With the exception of biological racialism, nothing essentially new has since been added.”

    Excerpt From: Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. “Liberty or Equality.”

    Leddhihn says a good deal more in Leftism Revisited. Plus, he has a quote by Hitler saying that “his project” was a fulfilment of Marxism.

    Rhetoric.

    I believe it would be useful to stress the concept of “political religion” and how similar Nazism is to progressivism (ideologically, philosophically, psychologically, structurally).

    So, what elements of the right does Nazism have?

    To use Aristotle’s concept of causation:

    1: Material Cause. Nazism shares similar “materials” with the right in their rejection and intolerance of criminality, hedonism and bohemianism — moral disgust; but the left has moral disgust too.
    2: Formal Cause. Nazism and the right share similar “formal” structures and endorsement of hierarchy and sex roles. However, the left, like all societies have this too — the right is simply honest and comfortable with it — because it is natural. Thus, the two openly declare the need for authority and division of labor; the left are far more deceptive and Orwellian about this, however. (Interesting comment about Stalin and the need for world Communism BTW.)

    Question:

    Given all this, how would you categorise MM’s Neo-Cameralism? (Constrained v unconstrained, tragic v utopian.)

    When I grasped the essentials, this was one of the first (meta) questions I asked myself. I believe it is a fascinating hybrid; most especially in the way it operates on two levels: personal authority and decision-making in one person but operating within a larger system of impersonal and objective metrics (profit) and political free-markets (patchwork).

    Best

    DR.

  11. I presume then that you would withdraw your claim that it represented any kind of conservatism?

    No.

    I maintain Nazism was conservative despite how warped it was. The balance of its characteristics pushes it, in my view, to the conservative end of the spectrum.

    I see also a qualitative difference between its Liberal and Conservative elements that makes it more correct to define them as Rightist – the arguably Liberal policies of Nazism (Socialist economic policies) were chosen for politically opportunistic reasons while its Conservative ones (militaristic obedience to a single leader) were central principles.

    Eugenics is important in this debate because Progressives also advocated for it in the past.

    I would still distinguish Nazi eugenics from Progressive eugenics. Nazi sterilization would not have changed the inherent nature of the German people. If they, for example, sterilized the least intelligent 10% of Germans, the remaining 90% would be more intelligent, physically and mentally healthier, and presumably better looking, but they would still be recognizable as Germans and would fit within Hitler’s neo-Spartan state.

    The Progressives on the other hand were divided between a nurturist wing and a eugenic wing; with some regional variations: I believe the British Fabian Socialists were more uniformly in favor of eugenics than their contemporaries in the American Progressive movement, the latter being more evenly divided between nurture-nature factions.

    Also, those early Progressives who did favor eugenics wanted it as a complement to other social engineering experiments that were contrary to human nature. Nazi social engineering was never as naive about human nature because they largely rejected nurturist arguments.

  12. 2: Formal Cause. Nazism and the right share similar “formal” structures and endorsement of hierarchy and sex roles. However, the left, like all societies have this too — the right is simply honest and comfortable with it — because it is natural. Thus, the two openly declare the need for authority and division of labor; the left are far more deceptive and Orwellian about this, however. (Interesting comment about Stalin and the need for world Communism BTW.)

    This touches back to the question of to what degree did the Nazis want to transform human nature.

    Authority poses a threat to the Left that is different from what problems the Nazis had with older conservative institutions that they might well have leveled or slowly abolished if they had won, such as Christianity and the Old German Aristocracy – Leddhihn is another Hapsburg aristo who had to flee Hitler’s Empire.

    The hostility of the Left to authority and hierarchy maintains Liberal governments in a constant state of low to high level anarchy because whenever one authority is abolished another due to human nature emerges that then needs to be smashed down.

    If Nazi Germany had won the war it would not have had to contend with this constant state of anarchy because it would have been more selective in what institutions it dealt with and preserved enough of the others, such as the military, to enter a stable period.

  13. Calling the Nazis conservatives sounds really odd, even Orwellian, to me.

    You can say what you want of, course, but I think you would be better off calling them rightists, at least.

    However, I would go for a complete re-framing; seeing them as a “political religion”. That term, which Hitler used, as was introduced to me by Glover and Burleigh, is counter-intuitive to many and “sticky”. It gets them them to approach what they think is familiar, in terms of the strange.

    If the Nazis had a utopian vision, then I cannot see, in any way, how they can be conservative.

    In terms of inquiry, I think we need to make the “familiar strange” after so much propaganda; in terms of rhetoric I don’t think you want to associate the term conservatism with Fascism and Nazism.

    BTW: I have read a little of Auster — he’s very good, but depressing, can you link me to any article (if you have it handy) were he argues about this subject

  14. Human Nature:

    “Nazi sterilization would not have changed the inherent nature of the German people.”

    Let’s parse this.

    Firstly, this was all part of a utopian plan that came from the mind of one man who wanted to “create mankind anew.” It was a top down, centrally planned operation, premised on “articulated rationality” as opposed to “systems of incentives” in order to directly bring about a clear goal: a New Germany, a New Religion, a New People.

    it would have changed the “inherent nature” of the “German people” IF you read it as changing both the biology, the psychology and the moral, political and cultural beliefs of the German collective.

    The ends of the progressive Fabians were different to the Nazis, but the means, and crucially the epistemic assumptions, were the same.

    In both cases, more so in the Nazis, you had the assumption that man (Hitler) could wield the paintbrush of power and fashion a new painting.

    Again, I’m working off Sowell, we trying to get at the fundamental assumptions here of how Humans (left and right) think.

    Changing the human mind, body and soul by direct intervention of “mangers” operating on an “ideology” or “articulated rationality” is, I claim, a necessary condition of the unconstrained, utopian vision.

    To use a different philosopher, have you ever read Michael Oakshott’s Politics of Faith and Scepticism?

    He seems to be trying to describe the same phenomena, but in different terms.

    On Authority.

    You say that the use of authority by Nazis marks them out as having rightist elements. I agree, the form or structure of organisation, and crucially the endorsement of hierarchy, is rightist.

    However, the issue is more one of rhetoric with the left, because they hierarchies, and they are authoritarian. It is just that because of their ideology, they have to lie about it.

    Best

    DR.

  15. Some further thoughts on why Nazism is more left than right (unconstrained and utopian, than constrained and tragic).

    History is Philosophy Teaching by Example.

    Here, we will examine assumptions about epistemology, knowledge and decision making.

    I have read the article on Comte and Marx twice now. Very interesting.

    Let’s talk about presumption:

    “The evil exists and it is enormous. We do not think we can better define it and its cause at all times and in all places than we have already done by the word ‘ presumption,’ that inseparable companion of the half-educated, that spring of an unmeasured ambition, and yet easy to satisfy in times of trouble and confusion.”

    Now, here is what Sowell says:

    “The power of specifically articulated rationality is central to the unconstrained vision.

    The French Revolution’s “rights of man” was a product of “articulated rationality”. Articulated by philosophers who would lay out clear and simple premises from which firm and infallible conclusions are drawn.

    Michael Oakshott (see below) calls this “Rationalism.” Even Bentham called the “rights of man” “nonsense, nonsense on stilts.”

    The power of unarticulated social processes to mobilize and coordinate knowledge is central to the constrained vision.”

    The best example of this is “prices and signals” in markets. In short, you need not know, control something in order to use it.

    Sowell:

    “In the unconstrained vision, to act without “explicit reason” is to act on “prepossession and prejudice.”42 According to Godwin: “Discussion is the path that leads to discovery and demonstration.”43 “Accuracy of language is the indispensable prerequisite of sound knowledge,”44 in Godwin’s vision, where knowledge is synonymous with articulated rationality””

    Hume would call this “chimerical” and Metternich would call this “presumptuous.”

    Presumption means?….Claiming to know things you do not know; an arrogant and disrespectful attitude towards, in this case, politics and society.

    Metternich is railing against “half-educated” ideologues, who have spun entire systems out of their minds. This is a fitting description of Hitler and the Nazis, as I have shown with the above extracts.

    Sowell then makes an interesting observation and analogy:

    “A similar difference between individual and systemic rationality can be found in religious doctrines in which (1) the Deity is conceived to act directly to affect natural and human phenomena, versus (2) those in which a Providential systemic process makes life possible and beneficent without requiring Divine superintendence of details.49

    (Central planning, or direct intervention in the economy for presumptuous, rationally articulated ends. V free market which is a “systemic process” that does not require “divine” or human “superintendence.” )

    Christopher Hitchens made a cute point when he railed against God as a “celestial dictatorship”; Monotheism was the first totalitarian system. Communism and Fascism was a evolution of the same tendency:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_that_Failed

    “What both the secular and the religious versions of systemic processes have in common is that the wisdom of the individual human actor is not the wisdom of the drama.”

    Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao were the “prophets” the “wise men” the “moral pioneers” who were the prime movers, themselves unmoved.

    “Conversely, there are both secular and religious versions of individual rationality, the religious version being one in which the Deity directly decides on individual events, from daily weather changes to deaths of individuals. Fundamentalist religion is the most pervasive vision of central planning, though many fundamentalists may oppose human central planning as a usurpation or “playing God.” This is consistent with the fundamentalist vision of an unconstrained God and a highly constrained man.”

    Hitler and co were Gods engaging in moral and political “central planning.”

    Metternich:

    “The first principle to be followed by the monarchs, united as they are by the coincidence of their desires and opinions, should be that of maintaining the stability of political institutions against the disorganised excitement which has taken possession of men’s minds;”

    This principle, one of caution and prudence, is the absolute antithesis of the epistemic attitudes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Mao loved destruction and revolution as an end in itself; much the same could be said of Hitler — he had a thirst for destruction. Yes, he wanted a (new) order, but like with all progressives or utopian thinkers, to build, you must first destroy.

    “Disorganised excitement” is also very close to the matter of opposing “passion” and the need to smash things up in order to build something new.

    “the immutability of principles against the madness of their interpretation ; and respect for laws actually in force against a desire for their destruction.”

    Hitler, like with Stalin, wanted to “create mankind anew” and found a new “political religion.” A project, I am sure, Metternich would have reacted with absolute horror.

    “A desire for destruction” What better description of the Nazis and Communists could there be than that? Nazi book-burning is little different from the Cultural Revolution or the various SJW cultural vandalisms.

    On law:

    “If you are for M, you are for the nomos, which makes you a pronomian. If you are for Q, you are against the nomos, which makes you an antinomian. The contradiction is obvious.”

    MM The Truth about Left and Right.

    Metternich:

    “The first and greatest concern for the immense majority of every nation is the stability of the laws, and their uninterrupted action — never their change.”

    Hitler actively subverted the law, created special courts and judges on top of existing ones; deprived people of their lives, liberties and properties. Hitler once attempted to take power via a coup. The Communists in China were, and still are, hostile to the concept of law.

    This attitude is mirrored, though less strong — but only because of institutions — in American and Europe in judicial circles (judicial activism). Consider furthermore, the “special courts” that exist in universities that can find men accused of “sexual assault” guilty, though they have not been tried in an actual court of law. Consider all the riots and fights the left engage in — just like the SA.

    Metternich:

    “Therefore let the Governments govern, let them maintain the groundwork of their institutions, both ancient and modern ; for if it is at all times dangerous to touch them, it certainly would not now, in the general confusion, be wise to do so.”

    “Dangerous to touch them.” The constrained attitude to a T.

    Sowell:

    “At the very least, our decision-making must proceed on the basis of those reasons which we can specify. But, at the more constrained end of the spectrum, knowledge and reasons unknown to any given individual must be brought to bear on many decisions, through social processes in which articulated rationality plays at best a subordinate role.”

    In a market, this consists of “prices and signals”; in the courts, this is following the law as written as much as possible.

    Finally, consider Hitler’s management of the war: he was an autocrat, running the war from his various “Wolf bunkers”. This was different from the way the allies undertook the war which had a division of civil and military leadership; a military Supreme Commander (Eisenhower), and a Chief of Staff (Marshall).

    Summary:

    Left and right, or constrained and unconstrained is as much about epistemological assumptions and cognitive attitudes towards the scope, scale and reliability of individual human decision making.

    As such, Metternich is a million miles away from Hitler, Stalin and the rest. Their epistemologies are completely different.

  16. I highly recommend the English philosopher, Michael Oakeshott. I read Politics of Scepticism and Rationalism at university. I don’t have the book to lift extracts from, but here is the Stanford entry:

    The illusion that there are “correct” answers to practical questions Oakeshott called “Rationalism”. It is the belief that practical activity is rational only when it rests on moral or causal laws whose truth can be demonstrated. In Marxism, for example, one encounters the claim that laws of historical change can be discerned scientifically and that practical guidance can be derived from them. But this claim, Oakeshott thought, should be understood as a rhetorical one that presupposes a certain kind of audience: it can be persuasive only for those who already believe that such laws exist and that they dictate correct decisions (Oakeshott 2008: 168–177). The error of Rationalism is to think that making decisions simply requires skill in the technique of applying rules or calculating consequences.

    Metternich’s “presumption” and what Sowell calls “articulated rationality.”

    “In an early essay on this theme, Oakeshott distinguishes between “technical” and “traditional” knowledge. Technical knowledge is of facts or rules that can be easily learned and applied, even by those who are without experience or lack the relevant skills. Traditional knowledge, in contrast, means “knowing how” rather than “knowing that” (Ryle 1949). It is acquired by engaging in an activity and involves judgment in handling facts or rules (RP 12–17). The point is not that rules cannot be “applied” but rather that using them skillfully or prudently means going beyond the instructions they provide.”

    The art of governance is more art than science. Note, this is all very different from Weber’s notion of bureaucratic rationality:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_cage

    “Political deliberation occurs when a public decision needs to be made and a proposed course of action defended against alternatives. But deciding which course of action to pursue involves more than simply applying rules or calculating costs and benefits. It requires interpretation and judgment. We must decide which rule to use and then interpret what it means in the situation to which it is applied. If, alternatively, we choose an action based on its likely consequences, we must judge the expected value of those consequences, which involves making value judgments as well as estimating probabilities. And whether we are applying rules or calculating outcomes, we must work with what we presume to be facts though these are always uncertain in various ways. For all these reasons, there is never a single and demonstrably correct course of action. Political arguments cannot be proved or disproved; they can only be shown to be more or less convincing than other such arguments. Political discourse, Oakeshott concludes, is a discourse of contingencies and conjectures, not of certainties or context-independent truths. It is characteristically persuasive and rhetorical, not a matter of demonstration or proof (RP 70–95; Nardin 2012).

    Aristotelian, in other words. As we see below:

    These are familiar points, made by Oakeshott with particular clarity. What he adds to other philosophical discussions of practical reasoning, such as Aristotle’s treatment of techne andphronēsis (Nichomachean Ethics 1142a) or Kant’s remarks on judgment as the middle term between rules and applications (Kant 1793, 8:275), is an account of how practical, and in particular political, discourse is corrupted when these distinctions are overlooked. His conclusions rest on a detailed dissection of ideological politics, which, Oakeshott thought, reflects a characteristically modern disposition to substitute rules for judgment in practical reasoning. These rules, which are thought to govern practice and which can be moral, historical, scientific, or divine, are in fact not independent of practical activity but abstracted from it. The rules that we abstract from a practice and appear to govern it are “abridgments” of something more complex and nuanced. They are not independent of practical activity and do not in fact govern it (RP 121). They are, to borrow language from Michael Walzer, interpretations rather than discoveries or inventions (Walzer 1987). And what they interpret are ways of doing things—customs, habits, traditions, and skills:

    the pedigree of every political ideology shows it to be the creature, not of premeditation in advance of political activity, but of meditation upon a manner of politics. (RP 51)

    The Rationalist, unaware of the local origins of the universal principles he thinks he has identified, disparages knowledge gained through experience and rejects it in favor of something called reason. Whether deductive or computational, this abstract reason is thought to guarantee a degree of certainty that experience and judgment cannot provide. The fallacy of Rationalism, in other words, is that the knowledge it identifies as rational is itself the product of experience and judgment. It consists of rules, methods, or techniques abstracted from practice, tools that, far from being substitutes for experience and judgment, cannot be effectively used in the absence of experience and judgment.”

    Metternich would not doubt agree.

    The following is very interesting:

    “Oakeshott discusses many examples of ideological politics in his essays on Rationalism. He dissects the rhetorical strategies of Locke, Bentham, and Marx and takes contemporaries to task for thinking that political conclusions can be extracted from religious or scientific principles or from the lessons of history. In his Lectures in the History of Political Thought(Oakeshott 2006, Lecture 31) and the last part of On Human Conduct (OHC 263–316), he discusses the arguments of Francis Bacon, the German Cameralists, and others who impute a collective purpose to the state as an enterprise for promoting some particular substantive goal. Depending on the thinker, this goal might be religious, economic, imperial, or therapeutic. Bacon emerges as an prominent figure in articulating the view that the purpose of government is to exploit nature, which implies mobilizing labor for the sake of collective prosperity or welfare—an implication fully explored and developed by subsequent thinkers, often but not only those identified as socialist (the “collective” and “welfare” elements of this view of the modern state are characteristically socialist, but the theme of exploiting nature is ubiquitous). Oakeshott examines seventeenth-century Puritanism, eighteenth-century enlightened despotism, and twentieth-century totalitarianism, all of which view the state as a corporate enterprise of one kind or another, instances of what he sometimes calls “teleocracy”. Like Hannah Arendt, he underlines the importance of European imperialism in nurturing new forms of despotism (Arendt 1951).”

    Note the reference to the “Cameralists” and “corporate enterprise.” This is one of the reasons why I think MM’s system is a hybrid. Epistemologically, MM agrees with Oakeshott and Aristotle in the need for judgement, personal rule and opposing “protocol” rule or Carlyle’s “government by steam”; and yet the system is teleological in the sense that it uses “profit maximisation” as a means to achieving “good government.”

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/oakeshott/#RatiRati

    Conclusion.

    It is remarkable how clear we see patterns in thought and judgment across the centuries between left and right.

    History is philosophy teaching by example. We need to interpret history via the lens of philosophy, and we need history to illustrate the consequences of philosophy.

    So, my friendly criticism of your position is that when we drill drown with analytical precision, we see that, in fact, the Nazis and the Communists are on distinctively different sides from the right, and the conservatives.

    The surfaces may appear similar, but when we drill down to the depths we see the differences between “accidents” and “essences.”

    Rhetorically, we must go on the offensive; I would go with “political religions” or idealisms.

    Question:

    I believe you may have interesting things to say about the following.

    Do you know of any scientific research that claims that political differences — constrained v unconstrained — are a result of genetic differences?

    I have heard of this r/k theory, and Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance, but I have not read them. I don’t know if they are scientifically reliable or not.

    Is the line from Gilbert and Sullivan true that every little boy and girl is born a little conservative and a little liberal?

    I suspect it is.

    Best

    DR

    P.S

    Thanks for all the replies. I don’t want to seem to be taking the thing of course. So, is there any aspect of the article, or of the general project, you want me to address? What balls do you want me to throw at you?

  17. You say that the use of authority by Nazis marks them out as having rightist elements. I agree, the form or structure of organisation, and crucially the endorsement of hierarchy, is rightist.

    However, the issue is more one of rhetoric with the left, because they hierarchies, and they are authoritarian. It is just that because of their ideology, they have to lie about it.

    Because Nazism did seek to change Germany, their remaking of the state is probably the best position to make the case they were Leftists.

    But I still define them as Conservative because their vision of transformation was not Leftist transformation.

    The points where Nazi transformation of society conflicted and overturned traditional structures were qualitatively different from Liberalism’s because the Nazis did not automatically assume all hierarchies and traditions had to be torn down as the Left assumes.

    Both the Left and Hitler were certainly presumptuous, but Hitler was not as presumptuous as the Left. To him, conservative traditions could be upheld and were useful as long as that tradition could trace power up to himself. Hitler did not want to overturn hierarchies if he could hijack them because he saw utility in institutions as long as they were his.

    If he had won the war those institutions would have entered a period of stability because his system was tolerant of hierarchy.

    From a strict sense of equilibrium, the history of a victorious Nazi Germany might theoretically be comparable to the history of the overthrow of the Roman Republic by Augustus and its conversion by him to an Imperial government. On the road to Empire, Augustus and Julius Caesar did have to sweep away older conservative elements. But this process was not Liberal because the conservative system of the decaying Roman Republic was replaced by another, also conservative/nomian, Imperial system.

    The argument you make for Hitler being a Liberal would apply also to Augustus – but would you agree Augustus was Liberal? If he was not Liberal, why is Hitler?

    Also, would you agree the other Fascist governments of Italy and Spain were Liberal?

    As for the modern Left, it’s ideology can never enter a state of equilibrium between institutions as Nazi Germany might have because its system inherently opposes all hierarchy; even national and cultural hierarchies which Metternich in 1820 anticipated the Left would do in an advanced enough stage

    As Metternich writes:

    https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/how-comte-overthrew-marx-part-i-introduction/

    In thus tracing the character of the presumptuous man, we believe we have traced that of the society of the day, composed of like elements, if the denomination of society is applicable to an order of things which only tends in principle towards individualising all the elements of which society is composed. Presumption makes every man the guide of his own belief, the arbiter of laws according to which he is pleased to govern himself, or to allow some one else to govern him and his neighbours ; it makes him, in short, the sole judge of his own faith, his own actions, and the principles according to which he guides them.

    Is it necessary to give a proof of this last fact ? We think we have furnished it in remarking that one of the sentiments most natural to man, that of nationality, is erased from the Liberal catechism, and that where the word is still employed, it is used by the heads of the party as a pretext to enchain Governments, or as a lever to bring about destruction. The real aim of the idealists of the party is religious and political fusion, and this being analysed is nothing else but creating in favour of each individual an existence entirely independent of all authority, or of any other will than his own, an idea absurd and contrary to the nature of man, and incompatible with the needs of human society.

    Hitler’s system did not theoretically or in practice favor individual liberty from all authority, and it certainly did not want a religious and political fusion of all peoples.

    Christopher Hitchens made a cute point when he railed against God as a “celestial dictatorship”; Monotheism was the first totalitarian system. Communism and Fascism was a evolution of the same tendency:

    But I am cuter than Hitchens!

    Jewish Monotheism was the first anti-totalitarian system because it proposed that though God was infallible God’s intelligence – which makes possible His infallibility – is beyond human understanding; therefore no human ruler could propose they were infallible god-men as Alexander, the Pharaohs of Egypt, and Pagan Roman Emperors did.

    If the best human rulers were not omnipotent, and if their actions would be judged under a Divine Law, then it was just to constrain the desires of the King to some degree and trust the a Divine force to handle human matters that were beyond the normal jurisdiction of the state.

    Without belief in the Judeo-Christian God, Right and Left secular authoritarians of recent centuries were compelled to replace the role of divine omnipetence with their own omnipotent scientific religion. These new secular faiths then delved into micromanaging areas of life where the state traditionally took a laissez-faire attitude.

  18. So, my friendly criticism of your position is that when we drill drown with analytical precision, we see that, in fact, the Nazis and the Communists are on distinctively different sides from the right, and the conservatives.

    I still don’t agree. However this has helped refine why I view Nazism was Conservative:

    1) To be Conservative a new system must be in agreement with institutions generally (even if it conflicts with some stakeholders), human nature, and hierarchy.
    2) When fully installed a new Conservative system must be able to maintain a state of stability with institutional and social norms. Nazism, I think, would have had more long term potential than any Leftist system of government because it was inherently more in agreement with hierarchical norms.
    3) Nazism’s conflicts with older stakeholders was on account of its newness and it not having been fully assimilated by the nation. If it had won these institutions would have gradually adjusted to the changes just as the institutions of the Roman Republic eventually yielded to the system of Augustus.

  19. Do you know of any scientific research that claims that political differences — constrained v unconstrained — are a result of genetic differences?

    Jonathan Haidt has done work exploring this issue, but I see a glaring flaw in it – members of the same ethnic group with different politics. Case in point are Orthodox Jews, Scandinavian descended Mormons, and Amish who are much more politically conservative than their secular co-ethnics. If they have the same genetics but different politics, we do not accept politics is genetic.

    I have heard of this r/k theory, and Nicholas Wade’s Troublesome Inheritance, but I have not read them. I don’t know if they are scientifically reliable or not.

    Rushton’s theory I’ve argued against here:

    https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/rushtons-theory-of-rk-selection-is-wrong/

    Thanks for all the replies. I don’t want to seem to be taking the thing of course. So, is there any aspect of the article, or of the general project, you want me to address? What balls do you want me to throw at you?

    Like UR, throw anything that comes to mind and the blog will be better for it. This is all greatly productive.

  20. You have raised some good points, some distinctions are in order.

    Firstly, you have me at a disadvantage over Fascism. What I have read of it has been from liberal left sources, not primary material, or even detailed treatments. That’s one of the reasons I am focusing on Nazism.

    On Augustus.

    I would consider that regime conservative.

    I suspect that you are right about Nazism’s fate. It’s plausible that there would have been potential problems with the succession, but I suspect that it would have been a new Rome — a troublesome thought.

    I don’t consider Hitler or Nazism as liberal.

    I think your point about hierarchy, stable institutions, and the Western left’s constant crusade against hierarchy and stability is the best, and most important point you have made here. This is important.

    Briefly, everything I have said about the epistemological assumptions and the utopianism still stands. Thus, according to those conditions, Nazism would fall under Sowell’s and Oakeshott’s and even Metternich’s judgement anti-right.

    However, the key difference is the Nazi attitude toward hierarchy and their goal of institutional stability.

    So, we agree, that if hierarchy and institutional stability, is a key condition, of conservatism and the right-wing, we appear to have a contradiction, or a hybrid.

    Let’s ask: what is it that makes Nazism, Communism and Progressivism different?

    Furthermore, it seems to me to be the case (correct me if I am wrong) that after Stalin’s death, the Soviet Union settled down and stopped the purges. Furthermore, after Deng, China changed to ?? Whatever happened, it seems like these Communist countries, after the revolution and terror, became orderly.

    Yet, in the West, we see this constant agitation and levelling.

    Here we come to the great question: is the explanation ideological or structural, or both for what we see in the West.

    My answer to this question is greatly influenced by MM.

    I think it is because of the fact that in a democracy —a divided power structure — there is a constant struggle for power, between the left and what remains of the right and their institutions. The process is slow, but the direction towards a socialist one party state remains constant because all the major institutions (except *some*? Of the corporates and the military) are in the hands of the left.

    In China, the fact that it is already a one Party state, with no toy opposition, forces the Party to be responsible. It seems clear to me, that Deng reformed because otherwise the Party risked losing power, or foreign subjugation again. With Xi, the matter is fundamentally the same. If the Party runs the country into the ground, and a 1989 situation occurs, then they can either give up or command the army to fire.

    If the Party gives the orders to the army, then either they fire on the people, or the army turn their guns on the Party.

    Thus, a monopoly, or ownership and control forces discipline and realism among the owners of a country. In a democracy, however coherent it may already be, it is not the same thing.

    In short, the West suffers from a number of “system traps” the “tragedy of the commons”, the “drift to low standards” and the “escalation trap”, among many others.

    In other words, because of the structure of the political system, there exists a number of perverse, feedback loops, because of divided power.

    The hypothesis is that if, say, the Democrat or Labour party had near absolute power (ala the Chinese), then much of the perversity we observe would be dealt with —by the left because it is in their self-interest.

    The question then is: what is the relationship between power, ideology and psychology?

    I wrestle with this still, and have wrestled with it for many years — probably because of my intellectualism I favoured ideological explanations.

    However, the explanation I favour now is that, while ideology still plays a major role, it is the struggle for power and preeminence that matters above all in explaining the behaviour of “political actors” and institutions.

    Thus, in the struggle for power actors do and say whatever it takes.

    What about psychology?

    I believe that there are psychological differences in the way conservatives/constrained and progressive/unconstrained people will naturally think. However, thinking or theorising is content neutral — it needs materials.

    For the West, the materials, the ideological operating system, are essentially Christian.

    So, I agree with MM that progressivism is latter-day Christianity.

    If this hypothesis is true, if Nazism had triumphed, then we would would have expected to see it transition from a revolutionary movement to one that was conservative.

    For example, Octavian killed many of the old Roman elites — he did what he had to do. However, once he had absolute power, he transitioned to Augustus and became a orderly, conservative, prudent ruler.

    Thus, it is democracy and divided power that is the problem in the West.

    Your conditions for conservatism:

    1) To be Conservative a new system must be in agreement with institutions generally (even if it conflicts with some stakeholders), human nature, and hierarchy.

    2) When fully installed a new Conservative system must be able to maintain a state of stability with institutional and social norms. Nazism, I think, would have had more long term potential than any Leftist system of government because it was inherently more in agreement with hierarchical norms.

    3) Nazism’s conflicts with older stakeholders was on account of its newness and it not having been fully assimilated by the nation. If it had won these institutions would have gradually adjusted to the changes just as the institutions of the Roman Republic eventually yielded to the system of Augustus.

    If we accept the hypothesis that politics is the struggle for power, then any group which obtains power will, if they are to retains it, evolve towards structures and sentiments that are “conservative.”

    Does this not contradict the philosophical account of politics I offered earlier?

    No. Because there are many ways to analyse politics. My previous posts were based on philosophy and history. But we must also include psychology, “sociology” and political science — in the manner that James Burnham recommends in Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom.

    All political regimes require a “formula” to gain and maintain power.

    In a democracy, “formulas” that help build the largest coalition will win; there is no necessary connection, however, between “formula” and reality. Indeed, given everything we know about human nature, history and democracy, the “formula” is likely to be nonsense — but attractive, useful nonsense.

    Despite the importance I have seemed to have placed on ideas, modern day Western philosophy is really just a branch of academic theology.

    To use different terminology, a conservative, or someone on the right is a realist; someone on the left (if they are struggling for power) is an idealist.

    Changing up, Islam and Nazism is very similar. There are strands of Islam (when it struggles) that will look unconstrained and utopian, but when it is safe, secure and unchallenged it becomes conservative.

    Still, I agree with you, that Nazism would have been a more successful system than Communism because it would have had a starting set of ideological assumptions that would have steered it towards more stable, resilient, structures and government.

    Indeed, as Thomas Sowell notes, Fascism and Communism tend to evolve into the same direction.

    I have spent quite a number of years in China, and I was very impressed by the society. I saw that it had its flaws — sure. One of my main criticisms is that’s formula and reality are hopelessly inconsistent, and it suppresses its past. This makes the regime vulnerable to ideological challenge if people want change.

    Going to stop. Need to sleep, have had only three hours in 48, and I’m falling asleep.

    Hope this makes sense.

  21. Firstly, you have me at a disadvantage over Fascism. What I have read of it has been from liberal left sources, not primary material, or even detailed treatments. That’s one of the reasons I am focusing on Nazism.

    The other Fascists of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Austria were less extreme in how far their assimilation of conservative institutions would go. With less tearing down than Nazism, they are more clearly Conservative in classic definitions than Nazism. And it is the transformation sought by Nazism that even I agree is the best grounds to claim it was a Radical Left regime.

    Perhaps at a certain extreme point of Radicalism the Right no longer is distinguishable from the Left?

    Briefly, everything I have said about the epistemological assumptions and the utopianism still stands. Thus, according to those conditions, Nazism would fall under Sowell’s and Oakeshott’s and even Metternich’s judgement anti-right.

    But Nazism’s philosophy would have to be universalist to be a Liberal Utopia. Of course with its extreme racial supremacy and military aggression against its neighbors Nazism could not be considered a universal ideology for all of man.

    Furthermore, it seems to me to be the case (correct me if I am wrong) that after Stalin’s death, the Soviet Union settled down and stopped the purges. Furthermore, after Deng, China changed to ?? Whatever happened, it seems like these Communist countries, after the revolution and terror, became orderly.

    Russia was still a Revolutionary state because it exported political revolution. It did lurch towards stability out of necessity but its core bias against hierarchy made these institutions incompetent and sloppy.

    With this helpful discussion I feel China should be classified as a dictatorial oligarchy, but not Fascist because in its conservative phase it hasn’t built a cult of personality around any post-Mao figure and power is not concentrated in a single figure.

    It is interesting to note how China’s transition from pure Communism under Mao to Conservatism was more successful than Russia’s gradual move to a less chaotic, but still Liberal, structure. It seems embracing Conservative principles rapidly after hitting bottom as the Chinese did is more effective than trying like the USSR to keep afloat Liberal institutions with minor Conservative patchwork fixes.

    I do agree with MM about the lack of responsibility in the Progressive system.

    Changing up, Islam and Nazism is very similar. There are strands of Islam (when it struggles) that will look unconstrained and utopian, but when it is safe, secure and unchallenged it becomes conservative.

    The difference is Islam’s doctrinal claim to be open to all races makes it Universalist and more Liberal than Nazism with its ultra-exclusionary traits.

    Still, I agree with you, that Nazism would have been a more successful system than Communism because it would have had a starting set of ideological assumptions that would have steered it towards more stable, resilient, structures and government.

    Not just the Soviet Union but all Communist regimes that refused serious changes as China did were failures. They failed even if they became more authoritarian, e.g., North Korea.

    The degree to which they tried to hold true to the core philosophical precepts correlates strongly with how great their failures were.

    This is a very interesting link between philosophy and practice.

  22. That is quite true that Nazis were not Universalists.

    Perhaps, we need to make a distinction between the Universalists as a unconstrained and utopian vision, and Nazism as a different unconstrained and utopian vision.

    While Sowell and Oakshott are mostly referring to the Universalists, their analysis can apply to different ideologies that are not Universalists.

    The way to reconcile the analysis is to see Nazism and Universalism as manifestations of, or sharing, deeper epistemological principles or types, but having different ends.

    Let’s switch frameworks.

    Firstly, for rhetorical reasons I would not want to surrender the point that Nazism is conservatism or even straight forward right wing in debates with the Universalists.

    As I have said, I don’t see it as a liberal or Universalist. So, I am not saying it is left.

    What I am saying, and the real point in the dialectic with the Universalists, is to see Nazism as a political religion, as a utopian project. Thus, by doing so, I tie them with guilt by association that way.

    Again, I think the Nazi regime should be approached in a number of ways, and not just the concepts right and left.
    Again, I like approaching it as a “political religion” and also would emphasise the similarities with Islam.

    Rhetorically or even in a scholarly way, I don’t think you should use the term conservative with Nazism. At best, I think you should use radical right-wing revolutionaries. Though, as I have said I would not use that term.

    What I have learned from your replies is that when we consider the Nazi state as it could have been –if it had of won – the picture changes. I think it is plausible that the Nazi state would have been quite “conservative” and orderly.

  23. Rhetorically or even in a scholarly way, I don’t think you should use the term conservative with Nazism. At best, I think you should use radical right-wing revolutionaries. Though, as I have said I would not use that term.

    Auster agreed that Nazism was a highly distorted form of conservatism.

    Perhaps it was so single minded in carrying out the destructive characteristics of its agenda that while technically far right it wound up resembling the destabilizing effects of Liberalism?

    I’ll refer to it as extreme right, and similar, but then where does that leave the non-Nazi Fascist parties that weren’t as extreme?

  24. Part of the distortion would be explained by the Germany’s circumstances: the war; the treaty; the loss of monarchy; the Communist threat bothexternal and internal; modernist thought and the need to compete in a democracy.

    I don’t know enough about Fascism. Any suggested readings?

  25. I don’t know enough about Fascism. Any suggested readings?

    Ohhh. Good question because I’m not sure.

    +90% of the literature is on Nazism or how the non-Nazi Fascists related to it. I picked up on Franco, Salazar, Mussolini, the Austro-Fascists from various short articles over the years but I can’t think of a book dedicated just to them.

    Does Leddhihn discuss Austro-Fascism?

  26. What was his general argument about how Fascism counts as Left?

    If Nazism still falls on the far right end of the political spectrum despite the acknowledged social upheaval its rise to power caused then the other variants of Fascism qualify as well because their installation into government was a far less anarchic process.

  27. KL argues that Mussolini started out as a radical socialist so….

    He argues that the early fascists in Italy were socialists.

    Also, he seems to assume that because they were democratic or used democracy that makes them left.

    The general argument is that they were envious and resentful and had a desire for uniformity which he argues is a key left wing trait.

    I don’t know what to make of that, as I don’t know enough.

    Have you ever read Umberto Eco’s Ur fascism?

    I read Hamilton on the Executive powers in the Federalist. Quite funny, he said an executive must have “energy”! Naturally, I was thinking of Trump.

  28. I could have swore I posted this earlier:

    KL argues that Mussolini started out as a radical socialist so….

    He argues that the early fascists in Italy were socialists.

    Also, he seems to assume that because they were democratic or used democracy that makes them left.

    The general argument is that they were envious and resentful and had a desire for uniformity which he argues is a key left wing trait.

    I don’t know what to make of that, as I don’t know enough.

    Have you ever read Umberto Eco’s Ur fascism?

    I read Hamilton on the Executive powers in the Federalist. Quite funny, he said an executive must have “energy”! Naturally, I was thinking of Trump.

Comments are closed.