A New Birth of Freedom

Rw005g

Rw005g
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December 31
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Major General
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Military Division of the Mississippi (Army of the Ohio, Army of the Cumberland, Army of the Tennessee)
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I root out and destroy secession, wherever it is found.

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2010 8:37PM

Was Hitler Really a Socialist?

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One of the most dangerous and increasingly prevalent myths pervading modern American discourse is the “Big Lie” that Hitler, Mussolini, Nazism and Fascism were historical and political phenomena of the Left, rather than the Right.

 

If you don't believe me, look at these two recent, popular additions to the current conservative canon, one, an article on conservapedia, another a recent and popular book equating fascism with liberal democracy.

 

http://www.conservapedia.com/Socialism

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Fascism

   

This big-lie has been created by the Right-Wing Establishment media, in its unending quest to discredit liberalism and progressivism. Society’s most educated and sophisticated, on both the Left and Right, have mostly ignored these arguments, seeing them as nothing more than harmless, historically inaccurate ramblings. Yet by failing to see the highly calculated method in the madness, we are doing America a grave disservice. By allowing these untruths to go unanswered, I fear, much more harm will transpire than many of us are currently willing to accept.

 

            Basically, the right wing accomplishes three (3) things by calling Hitler a Socialist. It all proceeds according to the propaganda concept of “guilt by association,” first pioneered by Pavlov and later perfected by B.F. Skinner.

 

            One: We all know communists were bad. Mao and Stalin were evil and killed tens of millions. That being said, Socialism is often portrayed as a middle-of-the road approach, a method that combines the best of capitalism with the best of Marxism. It is through this "middle way" methodology that Western European and East Asian nations such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have successfully managed the ebb and flow of the boom-and-bust cycle inherent to the capitalist system for the past 50 years, allowing them to maintain high levels of productivity and growth while minimizing unemployment and maximizing social welfare benefits and similar such public goods. Rather than have the government dictate the price for goods and services, though, they allow the market (supply and demand) serve this function. It has worked rather well.

 

          The right wing does not want Americans to look at these examples. They want us to be afraid of the word “socialist.” Hence they need to associate the word with the most horrible images and ideas possible, in order to pre-emptively discredit it in the hearts, emotions and psyches of the masses. Sadly, these folks do not travel and do not see how successful Western Europe and East Asia have been for the past 50 years.

 

            Two: Modern American Liberals and Progressives advocate a strong, activist government. This is a trait they have in common with socialists. By painting Hitler as a Socialist, you thereby discredit large, activist government programs. You also lead the ignorant and uneducated, who comprise an increasing portion of our electorate, to honestly believe that government-run health care could lead to death camps and death panels. This is not logical, but it follows the logic of emotional irrationality, the laws that govern the psyche.

 

            Three: By persuading the radical right, and perhaps many of the independents that Nazism and Fascism were phenomena of the Left, the Right Wing totally wins the narrative interpretation of 20th century history. If the 20th century taught us anything, its that either side, Left or Right, can oppress and violate human rights in the most murderous and brutally inhumane ways imaginable, if left unchecked by the procedural safeguards typical of a functioning democratic system. The instruments of war and the tools of persuasion that are available to modern man are simply too destructive and too manipulative to be left in the hands of an unaccountable, unresponsive and unrepresentative government.

 

One of the greatest quotes to come out of the 20th century is that: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely regardless of political persuasion.” What the GOP and Fox News have accomplished with their “Hitler was a Socialist” argument is to turn this quotation on its head. No longer are both sides equally susceptible to engaging in acts of political oppression. No longer are both sides subject to the same dark human impulses for power and control. No longer should both sides measure their passion and emotion with logic and self-restraint. In the new era, only the liberal or the progressive should measure or have such safeguards upon his actions, because it is he and only he who has been responsible for the greatest human rights violations in the history of the known world. Only liberals must be watched. Only liberals are dangerous. Only liberals put people in camps. Only liberals want to control the world. This is the unavoidable, logical conclusion that such arguments lead to. 

 

            Throughout the latter-half of the 20th century, both the Left and the Right have had skeletons in our closets. We were both forced by history to gauge our actions and measure our words, lest we go too far toward one extreme and commit the errors and disastrous mistakes committed by those who went before us. Whether it was somebody on the Right wing thinking twice before he employs race-baiting in a public speech, or a member of the Left wing thinking twice before advocating an unresponsive, centrally planned economic policy, promoting the collectivization of agriculture or oppressing religion, both sides are forced to think twice and remember history before impulsively saying or promoting a policy out of pure emotion or passion. Because both sides have committed heinous acts in the pursuit of their particular version of the “truth,” both sides have been forced, by way of historical circumstance, to excercise a certain modicum and degree of personal and political restraint, lest we commit the errors and attrocities of the past. Never Forget!

 

            What the Right Wing has done, has been to effectively remove this self-restraint upon their actions and thought processes by disassociating themselves from the most infamous right-wing extremists in history. There are no more extremists they must measure themselves against. They are all good and all liberals are  evil.

 

          All the right wing monsters in history have been redefined and re-interpreted such that they are now seen as left wing monsters. In psychology, this is called "shadow projection." As such, no right winger can properly be seen as a monster. Right wingers now have nothing impeding their self-perception, regardless of their actions or the logic of their throught-processes. We all need and require a realistic, functional external bogeyman to contrast our self-perceptions with, a shadow of our own inner self to keep our inner demons in-check. This is why shadow-projection is so dangerous, both to ourselves and to the targets of our aggression and/or projection.

 

          The conservative media, by removing this bogeyman, and projecting it and/or similar such shadows onto the "other," either intentionally or inadvertantly enables a necessary precondition for fanatical, zealous, perhaps even homicidal self-righteousness to be met.

 

          Upton Sinclair once said that “when Fascism comes to America it will come in the guise of Anti-Fascism.” Well, the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement are making war on Fascism, a Fascism they define as all things liberal, left wing and progressive.

 

Perhaps its time that we Progressives take a stand.

 

 

  

BASIC POINTS

 

NO.  Hitler was not a Socialist, despite the claims of conservapedia.

 http://www.conservapedia.com/Socialism

 

Here are the major refutation points:

 

1.

 

The Nazis or National Socialists started in 1919 as a right wing, racist, militaristic working-class, lower-middle class organization. Hitler tells us in Mein Kampf that he picked the name in order to confuse members of the German Socialist, Marxist and Communist parties, or at least steal potential membership from them. At this time, the German Left was the most powerful left-wing force throughout Europe outside Russia. Throughout much of the Weimar Republic, the Left Wing was dominant and the Right wing was in retreat. The highly conservative, right wing and reactionary state, Bavaria, even became a Soviet Republic for a limited period of time in 1919.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bavarian_Soviet_Republic

 

2.

 

The Nazis operated on the right-wing of the political spectrum. Hitler clearly admits this in numerous places in Mein Kampf. His earliest allies were members of the radical right wing German nationalist movement and also conservatives.

 

Men such as Ludendorff, Von Pappen, Hindenburg and the like were all conservative and/or right-wing nationalists and/or monarchists. They all hated eachother on a personal level, as all politicians often do, but they shared a common goal: the elimination of socialism, the preservation of Germany’s class system and the recreation of Germany’s militaristic culture and/or economy.

 

In no way did the Nazi Party operate within, or come from, the liberal or Leftist political tradition in either Germany, or any other country for that matter. Nobody at the time would have thought so, either. Hitler was a rightwing extremist trying to “cross-over” and win members of the radical middle, as well as convert a sufficient minority of folks on the Left. This does not make him a Leftist.

 

3. 

 

Just because the Nazis have some characteristics in common with Socialists, does not make them Socialists. This is the fallacy of association or the “fallacy of the undistributed middle.” Just because two things share a trait, does not make them the same. Camels eat lettuce. Rabbits eat lettuce. This does not mean that all camels are rabbits.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

 

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Pavlov, (discusses the scientist who discovered the psychological mechanism whereby animals make illogical, emotional associations)

Stalin was a Communist and liked law and order. Republicans in the US like law and order. Does this make Stalin a Republican? Clearly not, but this is the same logic conservatives are currently using.

4.

Industry and banking in Nazi Germany were privatized. They were not nationalized or placed into the collective ownership of workers’ groups. Lenin wrote that the first requirement of a Socialist economy is that the Commanding Heights of the economy must be taken out of private hands (he didn’t call for the abolition of private or consumer property, only that things like coal, forests, railroads, steel, food and strategic resources be controlled by either the people, the government or responsible third parties, rather than a self-interested Capitalist class that apportions said resources according to price/demand rather than need.

Hitler’s promise to Germany’s top families, that they would retain private control of the economy, was the leading factor that caused them to back him, over his conservative, pro-sectarian, monarchist opponents, such as Von Pappen, Hindenburg and Ludendorff.  

5. 

 

Conservatives often point to the fact that Hitler granted German workers the May Day holiday that they had spent 100 years agitating for, thus proving the power and potency of his regime. What they fail to mention is that he abolished all labor unions on the following day, further proving the power and potency of his regime, as well as proving, once and for all, whose interests his regime ultimately served. Unlike the Communists, which were a totalitarian regime run from the bottom-up (i.e., by peasants who overthrew the government), the Nazi and Fascist governments were totalitarian regimes run from the top-down (i.e., by marketable members of the Establishment and/or their fellow-travelers who support the ancient regime, albeit in a different guise). An additional fact showing this trait is the fact that under Hitler, German workers lost their right to collectively bargain with industry, a right that they had won in certain German states and cities during the Weimar Republic.

 

6. 

 

Hitler discarded the concept of class conflict between the Proletariat and Bourgeoisie and sublimated/replaced it, within Germany, with the concept of internal ethnic warfare of Indo-European Aryans against Jews and Gypsies and biological “war” against the incurably ill. Within Germany itself, economically-based class-consciousness was banned and 100 years of Marxist, socialist and Social-Democrat philosophical/ideological influence was discarded and oppressed.

Rather than preach class, the Nazis preached the concept of Völksgemeinschaft, or “folk community,” where all the economic classes would be united in a single purpose and march to the beat of a single drummer, united in a single cause, namely, purity within and conquest without. This was basically an endorsement of a mass, sectarian, ritualistic, communitarian society, of the kind espoused by the Communists, but without the concomitant  threat to the Wealthy and their class-interests.

As such, the  rich in Germany gave the nation a bait-and-switch if you will. They stole the thunder from the Socialists and Communists, granted them the most superficial and meaningless of their demands, but retained the fundamental essence of their social and economic system. With the advent of World War Two, he imposed this same construct upon occupied/friendly nations, in varying degrees depending upon the nature of the relationship. Many nations with rigid class systems, socio-economic tension, and majority-minority ethnic tension found this peculiar mix useful in their local environment. Nations that adopted this approach were Chile, Argentina, Iraq, South Africa, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

7.

 

Hitler did have economic planning, as the Soviets did, but as we discussed above with the associative fallacy, this does not make him a socialist. Most nations from the 1920s up through the 1970s engaged in some form of economic planning, very few of which were or would have considered themselves, Socialist. President Eisenhower had massive economic planning and public works programs, such as the National Highway System. Yet Dwight D. Eisenhower, clearly, was not a Socialist.

  

 8.

 

The writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky were banned. If Hitler was a socialist, then why ban and burn in bonfires, the leading proponents of such an economic/philosophical/political system?

 

 9.

 

Racism and Antisemitism are the biggest taboos in Socialist theory. The idea, according to Marx and other socialists, was that the elite use racism and anti-Semitism to divide and distract the poor, such that they cannot effectively organize in the advancement of their own economic interests.

 

For example, in Czarist Russia, there would often be famines. The peasants would revolt, and, armed with pitchforks would storm into the large palace/estate of the local nobleman (called a Boyar). The Boyar would often have vast stores of grain and food, enough to help the peasants. But he would not share. Instead, he would tell the Peasants that the local Jews or Gypsies ruined the harvest and that they are the reason why Russian babies are forced to starve in winter. Oftentimes, they would produce the Protocols of the Wise Elders of Zion, a famous forgery created by the Czarist secret police, precisely for this reason.

 

The peasants would then initiate and carry-out a violent, murderous pogrom in the local Jewish village, but to no avail. They would find no extra food. The crops of the Jewish farmers were similarly impacted by the bad harvest: they simply had a bad summer with insufficient rain.

 

Rather than unite with their Jewish brothers and protest the local nobleman and ask for food, the Russian peasants succumbed to their hatred of the “other.” In so doing, they were easily manipulated by the nobility. At the end of the day, both the Russian Jews and the Russian peasants lose. The Boyar nobleman wins. This is why Socialism hated ethnic and religious intolerance. They saw it as the #1 impediment to effective working-class consciousness and working-class unity.

 

 10.

 

Wealth Redistribution--> Socialists believe in a progressive income tax. The higher the tax bracket, the higher the portion of one’s income that is taxed. Not just income, but all forms of property, whether land, capital gains, etc. A disproportionate distribution of wealth translates into a disproportionate distribution of political power that corrupts and degrades the concept of democratic political equality inherent in the maxim: “One man-one vote.” Political rights are largely useless and ineffectual if one is too hungry, diseased, ignorant and exhausted to exercise said rights in a meaningful way. As such, economic justice, according to socialists, is a necessary prerequisite for meaningful and effectual, participatory democratic government.

 

 Hitler did not redistribute the wealth of the German aristocracy. This was part of the bargain from the outset of the Third Reich. Rather, he confiscated the wealth and property of a disliked minority within the Reich, namely, the Jews. It was with confiscated Jewish money and later, the looted money derived from conquest, that funded the Nazi social welfare apparatus.

Kaiser Wilhelm II once told Hitler that Germany can’t pursue a policy of total war and total social welfare at the same time--that you can’t buy both guns and butter. Hermann Göring replied for his master and said that the Reich would, indeed, provide both guns and butter, and in vast quantities at that. What he didn’t mention was that German guns would be used to steal Jewish butter and that without the guns, nobody would be able to get any butter, because the wealthy elite in Germany weren’t willing to share it.  

Ergo, unlike in true socialism, where the wealth of the collective majority of the people is pooled into a general fund, through legal taxation and redistributed according to need (from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs), the Third Reich cheated, by stealing money from its Jewish citizens. Basically, the wealthy aristocracy of Germany sacraficed the lives and property of its wealthy Jewish brethren, in order to preserve its own  inherited wealth and property. This was Leon Trotsky’s essential argument.  http://marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/index.htm 

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Thank you for writing this. I have often been appalled by the casually revisionist history often cited on Fox News, but I appreciate your organized response.
Juniper, I have not seen this type of historical revisionism, honestly, since I read 1984. Not even the Soviets were this brazen with history. Even more so, the Soviets weren't as isolated from the world as Americans are. We always hear about the Iron Curtain, but something far worse insulates the American electorate. Its called the Great Oceanic Curtain, and the domestic ignorance it causes never ceases to amaze and astound.
Hitler's party did at the beginning use several large workerist organizations to help them gain power. These groups could best be described in today's (European) political nomenclature as center-left. They also drew on the support, for large influxes of party members, on the two biggest Protestant organizations in the country. Hitler was not always right-wing in his rhetoric early on either, he gave numerous speeches about the needs of working people and even backed certain laws that initially made worker organizations more powerful. But once he gained the backing of middle class groups, especially the very traditional aristocratic officers corps, he discarded the social-needs platform in favor of nationalistic and increasingly racist ideas. And yes, some of the first groups to be suppressed during his chancellory were workerist. Later on he even got rid of the SA, a mostly working class terror group, in favor of the SS which was made up mostly of officers and middle-class clerk types. But really, besides the history lesson, what is the point of arguing with the right wing in America on this? It's like arguing with a turnip. Good absurdist theater, but it does nothing to develop a workerist politic for today.

rated.
Boko---I mention, above, the reasons why the Left must refute these arguments.

As for the history...

Left and Right are relative terms. While you are correct that Hitler utilized some working class rhetoric early-on, his support was always and predominantly on the right. The Sturmabteilung (SA) was certainly on the left wing of the National Socialist movement and saw itself as a "people's army" of sorts, but it was far to the right of the Spartacus League and Communist Party of Germany.

The SA drew its primary support from the Freikorps, which was comprised of WW1 veterans, who roamed the countryside as ex-communist mercenaries that helped put down worker strikes and labor unions, for a fixed fee. They were certainly more populist and folksy than the elitist, Prussian-establishment led German military, then called the Reichswehr. Ernst Roehm, who would become the leader of the SA, did so only by way of his leadership position within the Freikorps. The first SA squad was actually a converted platoon of Freikorps recruits.

That being said, it would be inaccurate to label the SA, with its Freikorps membership base, as a Left Wing organization. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the most influential leftists of the day, would have disagreed with you. Indeed, they were captured and brutally executed by Freikorps goon squads in 1919.
Superb analysis and eloquently written in a clear and logical manner.

On June 30th, the resident village idiot climbed out from under his rock, and catnliar said:


"Are you forgetting that the Nazi party was the National SOCIALIST party? How do you figure they are "right wing"?

Catnlion
JUNE 30, 2010 12:23 AM

Please send ten copies of this to any of his wives who have not yet left him for the greater benefits derived from living with women exclusively.


-R-
Stellaa--absolutely correct. It is very important that we challenge every falsehood, particularly very big ones such as this. If progressivism and liberalism became effectively associated with Nazism in the minds of at leat 20% of the population, maybe 30%, then it would be game over for Democracy in this country.
Excellent post! I wrote a piece on a similar subject a few weeks ago, in which a right-winger labeled Hitler and his Nazi regime as "extreme socialism." Your post should be used to support discussions on this topic outside of OS.

Is the Tea Party movement the product of ignorance?:

"The truth is that Adolf Hitler, the head of the National Socialist German Workers Party, despised everything that remotely resembled Marxism, socialism, communism and liberalism (even democracy). It's a known fact that Hitler actually regretted having used the word 'socialist' in the party name. "
Kanuk---Thank you for reading this. I regret not having read your piece and shall do so now.

You are absolutely correct about what you say. His movement was pro-Establishment. Sure, during the war, he bit this Establishment, but they were the biggest winners. Particularly after the war, when the allies rebuilt Germany. They got help from Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s. Then, after the war, they got help from the USA and the Marshal Plan. German industrialists were some of the shrewdest, most machiavellian dudes who ever walked the face of the earth. Most of the ones who utilized slave labor got off with a mere warning at Nuremburg, because we needed their "help" to fight the Communists. Funny, isnt it? That's the same thing Hitler said in the 1930s.
Hitler was financed by among others IG Farben, the Womb of the Bush Family fortune: Brown Brothers Harriman, and many other captains of industry and Banking interests, the most curious part is many of them were based in England and America and were never held accountable. I think Brown Brothers Harriman was censored but it amounted to a slap on the wrist: naughty naughty Averill and Prescott mustn't help kill 60 million people. IG Farben actually made the gas and directed its use it would not be inappropriate to say concentration camps were their idea not Hitler's. IG Farben was a front for Wall Street in other words Brown Brothers Harriman and company and the amazing part of the whole thing was this was totally ignored at the Nuremberg Trials and besides for the dissolution of IG Farben there were no economic ramifications for Wall Street let alone criminal.

In defense of Americans, only the ones that are defendable, after reading Mein Kampf one is left with the idea that what Hitler is proposing is socialism you say yourself RW: Hitler advocated and carried out the “abolition of private or consumer property, only that things like coal, forests, railroads, steel, food and strategic resources be controlled by either the people, the government or responsible third parties” He also stressed the importance of providing affordable housing for the young (this was to counter act the Syphilis epidemic in Europe which was virtually eradicated in Germany after Hitler took office), cars and many other human necessity's. The German National Socialist form of government minus the commitment to racial and ethnic cleansing would be far preferable to the predatory and parasitical Capitalism that is in the process of killing America. Granted it is not Marxism or Leninism or Trotskyism but it is a form of socialism none the less it is just more palatable to the rich. I would take the deal if they wanted to make it but they do not. They want our blood and the feeling is now mutual. By now it should be evident to anyone with a third grade education that the republicans only proposal for the future is third world poverty for 99% of Americans and utopia for 1%
The truly abominable lack of historical knowledge on the part of what seems like the majority of the American people ensures that the lies and revsionist historical claims by the proto fascist mouthpieces - LimBeck, the Teabaggers, Fox et al go unchallenged. Somehow, the term socialism has become a catchall for the ultimate in evil and anti-American values. The marching morons are clueless as to what democratic (left wing) socialist countries are like- Sweden for example- and that its even possible that the standard of living of the average person- which includes a social safety net -is better there than in the good old best of everything US of A.

The National Socialist (Nazi) government of the Third Reich could not have been more un-socialist as far as political belief and action. But the revisionists are happily perpetuating the Big Lie in the tradition of Dr Joseph Goebbels . He would be so proud of them.
Ian-- I totally think they are secretly reading his journals...lol
Mark--is that his name? I'll send this to him. You wont believe how many people I hear saying this stuff. It amazes me. What amazes me even more, is how rarely liberals try to refute it.
Wow, really excellent post. I seriously hope people read this.
I have had the Hitler left or right argument too many times with too many members of the conservative lumpenproletariat.

I subscribe to a K.I.S.S. response.

One can point out the similarity in scapegoats.
That right wing movements are top down, and focused on defending the wealthy and blaming minorities for problems. Left wing movements are bottom-up, embracing minorities and blaming the wealthy.
That dictatorships are right, whether the economics are right or left.
Hitler's socialism was about dedication to the state, not towards economic, and certainly not political egalitarianism.

The Night of the Long Knives. 'nuff said.

Conservatism has always been about defending the ancien regime. Hitler preserved the position of the wealthy, and the difference between dictator and monarch is trivial.

One fun response is to point out that Hayek claims the rise of National Socialism was enabled by Conservative Socialism.
That one sends them into spittle fits, and the explanation confounds them, even if it is accurate.

If the good ol' MSMedia wasn't as captive of wealth as is Fox, et al., they could spend some time rebutting the trash the conservatives put out.
The answer from the "not-the-right" (I don't see a left counterpart to the rad right) is simply good policy for the working classes. Given that, the whackass right is marginalized and reverts to its former function---handing out pamphlets at a state fair booth and writing crazed letters to editors in crayon.

Forget the Republicans, in other words, and reform the Democrats.
LOLOL -- Go, RW, TAKE IT APART!!!

It hardly needs to be said that Nazism has approximately zipola to do with Socialism -- except that it DOES need to be said, because this whack-job rhetoric is endemic now, operating, evidently, on the "repeat it often enough that it gains credence" model (which, I am sorry to say, is a highly effective tactic).

My much-delayed (and likely to be yet longer delayed) next post is going to be on judgment -- the judgment of The Glorious People always being a bit, er, well, idiosyncratic and variable, but suffering right now under an extraordinary number of assaults and insults, making it equally extraordinarily difficult for people to identify factors that MAKE SENSE, and leaving them open to the repeat-until-you-turn-blue word-salad irrelevance of random, alogical associations-through-assertion.

This whole neocon line of propaganda is fundamentally an ad hominem attack (where the ad hominem is, further, dead wrong and deliberately deceptive). We need, I think, two things. To ANNIHILATE it on its own terms (as you've done with REALLY entertaining energy, heh, in this piece here), and also to tell people: hey, let's leave the whole ad-hominem stuff ASIDE for a moment, and focus on WHAT WE NEED TO DO. Two fronts. Both critical.

I am not a WWII-nerd, and I have limited knowledge about that era. But I suspect (SUSPECT, do not KNOW) there was not inconsiderable government-corporate collusion given that...well, ain't there always, in a militaristic fascist state? And also an anecdote I happen to know about Hitler's ne'er-do-well Irish nephew Paddy Hitler (could NOT make something like that up), who wandered over to the Third Reich to see whether he could get a career going somewhere. Uncle Adolph set him up with a nice position in a German bank (Paddy eventually balked at being pressured to join the Nazis officially and took to his heels, winding up fighting for the Allies, settling in the US, and changing his surname to Hiedler).

That sort of permeable-barrier collusion (the politically connected get biz positions, and the biz connected get political positions) is typical of corporatists, not Socialists. FWIW. And it is a common enemy of all of us -- except corporophiliacs ;) .
We are living science fiction. Thanks for the detailed, cogent response to one of the right's biggest myths. You have done your work and I appreciate it. It is a huge error to not speak up when a lie is so often repeated. I hope this circulates and many read it.
you might want to review your 'quote' of lord acton's maxim.
Al---it is a requote of Lord Acton's Maxim, one that has been rehashed throughout the ages. Thank you, though, for giving me the original author. I did not recall who originally said it. I do know that, though, it was originally phrased as "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Doc, thanks. What did you think of the shadow projection arg, since you are into psychology?
Paul--u are right. We definately need to reform the Democratic party. It is way to weak, divided and co-opted by big business right now
Kate---read that link to the Trotsky articles I put up there. Also read abot H. Schlacht, Hitler's finance minister. I will check out more about that Irishman, in the meantime!
I'm sorry, there was a miscommunication, or I was unclear. My point was not that the SA was a solidly working class organization, but it's also not true to say that it was only made up of Freikorps members. Much of the literature about Hitler's early rise focuses on his life before the '28 election, which was a low point for his political career and the Nazis and the last time he tried to gain office through primarily electoral means, and not with help from thugs and violence. This was also the period when he met many of the people who formed his later inner circle.

After the global crash and the total destitution of the German economy (it wasn't doing too well before either), the ranks of many reactionary groups were swelled with the unemployed and disaffected. There were 400,000 people in the SA by 1931, certainly way beyond the original few thousand Freikorps. By the time Hitler had it suppressed, there were many thousands more. This is one reason he began to view Roehm as a threat (the other being the possibility, whether gossip or not, that they had carried on with each other in more than political ways). The workerist groups I was speaking of were actually some few trade unionist organizations that split off to support the Nazis when they began to make electoral gains. There have been numerous theories offered why they would do this, since the trade unions as a bloc supported the Social Democratic party, and Hitler had pretty openly promised to suppress trade unions if he got total power. Perhaps it was a strategic move to try and outmaneuver Hitler, perhaps it was an outright mistake. But not everyone on the left was convinced he was a threat until the Bruening was sacked and von Papen called a new election in '32. Then, with middle class support secured, the knives came out.

Of course I'm not just talking about the elite. I tend to speak of the vast majority of people first, the party faithful, activists and politicians second. Workers were not confined to acting in the major parties. Many were convinced that Hitler had their best intentions at heart, and maybe that kind of self-sabotage is where a useful comparative critique to today's American right should begin.
Dr. Spud--thanks for the support

Black Jack--the arg has been made that the Soviets were far stronger after WW2 than they were prior. Stalin was very weak from the purges of the 1920s and 1930s.

His nation was falling apart and there were constant conspiracies against him. The Nazi threat and later, the war, allowed him to solidify the country behind him and use it as a pretext to eliminate enemies within.

Russia's borders were far more secure after 1945. Their armies penetrated far into Korea/Manchuria, and into Germany and central Europe.

Germany didn't need to go either Nazi or Communist. The left could have gone Social Democrat, or Conservative Monarchist very easily. The problem was they were too divided. And when moderates are divided, radicals win the day. And when its a contest between radicals, the most brutal side sadly prevails.
Noko---so you're saying that of those workers who did support him, they were probably persuaded by some form of false consciousness?
(Oops, I got Paddy's name wrong -- well, he started out as Patrick Hitler, but I got my Hiedlers confused -- those are the Austrian relatives. Paddy turned into a Stuart-Houston or something like that. Something that sounded NOTHING like Hitler, heh. Um, anyway, there's really nothing to look up about him, because he was and remained a bit player, nothing special one way or t'other on his own merits.)
I meant "best interests" rather than "best intentions," but it worked out the same way. He was brutal to anyone who opposed him once he had total power. As early as '32 Nazis in the Reichstag actually beat up members of the Communist Party on the floor. And of course I meant to refer to the German Social Democrat Party.
Off to bed. Will comment some more in the morning!
I think that self-sabotage plays a very real and very frightening part of politics under any version of capitalism. You know the old saying, "The kindest thing you can do to a masochist is to give him a good whipping"? The rush to support Hitler, or Mussolini in Italy, or for that matter, Berlusconi today, is not limited to people from the upper classes. It can never be, since rule by consent is the only real kind there is. Even--or maybe especially--authoritarian states, need consent from the least powerful. How they obtain it is a very interesting theme in history. It's one of the things the deconstructionists have been investigating for decades.
The National Socialists did make it easy for the Far Wrong in this country by misappropriating the word "socialist". As anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of history ought to know, that isn't the only thing Hitler and his henchmen lied about. In fact, the Nazis took lying to an art for based on the notion that if you tell a lie often enough people will come to believe it.

Then again, there's nothing conservative about today's conservatives, who are only interested in conserving their ill-gotten gain from taxes. In the Seventies. they adopted the Nazi methodology, and combined it with a buy-out of mainstream media and managed to get a third-rate Hollywood actor elected President.

Chief among the soulless practitioners of this dark art was Lee Atwater, who used a barely-disguised racist appeal to get Reagan and Bush the Elder elected, before passing the torch to Karl Rove.
Even Goebbels would have been impressed.
Even Goebbels would have been impressed that Rove got a loser like Bush the Lesser elected -- paving the way for crapitalism uber alles.
Rw005g,

Please save yourself the trouble of sending ANYHING to catnlion aka catnliar. Not only will he lie about it, delete things if they are in his blog, but will harass You with PMs that he will then lie about.

Best to have nothing to do with the sociopathic cretin.

You have, already, made a significant and important contribution with this piece to the world and OS, and I feel like an idiot for not having favorited, long ago, for many pithy things You've courageously posted, which I will remedy right now.
I was gratified to see that (in commentary) you recognize the less and less useful terms left and right.
Forward and backward, progressive and conservative, savants and idiots, all are useful, left and right less so.
(R)
I didn't read this whole post only because I find the idea that anyone could possibly believe that the Nazis were left of anything to be absurd. How on Earth could anyone in their right mind contend that a guy whose central tenet was the existence of a Master Race that should be served by everyone else could be considered egalitarian? That takes Orwellian Newspeak to levels entailing chutzpah beyond Hitler's, a phenomenon I had no idea was possible outside of actual pathology.
""We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions" Adolph Hitler, Speech May 1, 1927
I don't literally think the Nazis were socialists despite their name, it is just that their is little connection between fascism and conservative politics in the first place. The Nazis or Musilini did not have a hands off approach to business, as anyone who watched Schindlers List can see. Fascism is not left or right. It is a cult of personality. Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Hitler and Muslini were all fascists. The Soviet Union was a dictatorship. So some dictatorships can share beliefs you can compare to a political party, but not necessarily one of the other. A dictatorship is a place where one guy can have anyone else executed. Who rules absolutely.
In re Boko's observation:

"Workers were not confined to acting in the major parties. Many were convinced that Hitler had their best intentions at heart, and maybe that kind of self-sabotage is where a useful comparative critique to today's American right should begin."

Certainly apropos politics in America these days, tho' I'd say union workers (what few are left) are not nearly as keen on the politics of the Racist Right as they were back in the 60's with the rise of American Independent Party, an outfit that bore all the seeds of Nazism. The ugly truth is today's divide and conquer Republican Party is far closer to the AIP than it is to the Party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.

It's not surprising that a large number of poor and middle class people buy into the propaganda of the Reactionary Right. These people ought to know better, but they don't, and since they sneer at learning, they won't. They are fearful, ignorant and willfully blind -- human faults that breed totalitarianism.
Since RW has refuted the myth that Hitler was a card carrying socialist spread by the likes of simpletons like Glen Beck at the behest of his master Rupert Murdoch. I would like to take this opportunity to dispel another of Beck's myths: Beck loves to paint Hitler's nemesis Joseph Stalin as one of histories great villains. Stalin was a product of his times many of you seem to be blissfully unaware aside from Blackjack (cool name) that the only reason you are not goose stepping around ( those of you who are not Jewish because you would no longer exist) and screaming Heil Bush to every one you meet is Joseph Stalin. it appears to me that you all have only fed your intellects at the preapproved globalist trough, you have never seen a dissenting opinion, Stalin was a paranoid mass murderer and that's that. I am a product of NYC and much of my information is derived from the first hand accounts of our huge populace of Russian immigrants many of them, especially those who do not hale from the regions of the Ukraine , grudgingly admire Stalin although they are well aware that it would be politically incorrect to publically express those sentiments.Yes Stalin was an assassin who rose through the ranks to seize control of the communist party but for that matter so was Hitler (a man who personally arrested his life long friend and ally at pistol point and had him executed 24 hours latter, Stalin never did anything quite that ruthless, yes they both probably murdered their lovers but that is a crime of passion and Hitler's lover also happened to be his niece whom he was supposedly the guardian of) and in a hot news flash for semi literate Americans so are both George Bush’s. Being an assassin happens to be the traditional credentials for a dictator among Caucasians since the days of the Roman empire.

20 million Ukrainians were starved to death in two separate government induced famines from 1920-1921 and then 1932-1933 (it was probably more like about 10 million but I am giving capitalist slanderers the benefit of the doubt some scholars say it was only 4 million) because they refused to share the bounty of their land (the Ukraine had always been the breadbasket of Russia) with the rest of the country if the Ukrainians had their way 100 million Russians would have starved to death. After Stalin settled the debate on who owned the Ukraine, the Soviet Union (Stalin) managed to stop the Nazi war machine dead in its tracks preventing the Ukraine’s annexation to Germany. Hitler clearly stated that these were his overall intentions when he postulated the goal of lebensraum in Mein Kampf . Lebensraum was Hitler's reason for launching operation Barbarossa and for that matter WWII in the first place. It was Hitler's intentions also clearly stated in Mein Kampf to either enslave or eradicate all of the Slavic people (not to mention get rid of his competitors the Jews) whom he referred to in his book as “white niggers”. Hitler's defeat was due to the flawless strategy of Stalin who actually disappeared from the politburo (it was as if he was planning the whole thing long before it happened) while he allowed Hitler's armies just like Napoleons before him to be drawn deeper and deeper into the unforgiving Russian steps when the moment was right at the gates of Moscow Stalin counter attacked, the rest is history real history as Blackjack has already pointed out once Hitler was defeated at Stalingrad it was inevitable that Germany would lose the war. Both Hitler and Stalin knew this that's why neither army was permitted to withdraw. Stalin’s intellect was so keen that in private correspondences between Roosevelt ( a crippled eunuch) and Churchill ( a bumbling fool) during the peace negotiations he was referred to as “not a natural man”. Indeed for just that once history's version of Abbot and Costello may have been correct; do you think God would send the Easter bunny to stop the Devil?
Scandanavia. Be very, very afraid.
Fascism + liberal democracy.
Okay.
And pigs have wings.
Very observant--and thank you for alerting me. I had no idea they'd gone this far. Wow. Scary stuff.
Rated
One hell of a post RW!

It embarrasses me a little, however. I have a strong propensity to commit myself to the natural order of all things propinquity, so I hadn't heard any of this nonsense that right extremists are somehow changing sides post-mortem (perhaps it's Beck and the rest of the Mormons with their "baptism of the dead" that's doing all this :-)

I have a very hard time sitting for more than 2 minutes listening to the likes of Hannity/Coulter/Beck et al, so I’ve missed this, but nothing surprises me with Fox News, who holds no reservations in their efforts to thwart-report news and history.
'left' and 'right' are for children. you need at least 3 axes to describe human society. that's why you sometimes see 'strange bedfellows' in one area of society.

nazism was a variety of socialism, in that the government could and sometimes did direct the operations of economic entities. but usually the direction was personal: a letter to the owners or labor leaders, explaining what they should do. this is commonly called 'fascism,' but mussolini preferred 'corporatism,' quite like nader's 'corporation state.'

socialism refers to control of economic functions. it can be unpopular and inhumane. as indeed it was in the axis powers. mind you, hitler put people to work and was quite popular for a while...

if you want a popular and humane socialism, you need a measure of input from the people involved, ideally democracy.
Whoreville---AH lied through his teeth when giving speeches to diff groups. He also gave hundreds of speeches about the necessity of peace, pacifism and avoiding war and militarism. He gave these to certain audiences. He would give pro war speeches to other audiences. This is why quoting the speeches of politicians is not always effective, without looking at the context.


To say that Lenin, Stalin, Castro and Mao were fascists displays little understanding of the word.

The Third Reich did not have a command economy, and nationalization of the "means of production," as socialist/communist economies did, but it did have Keynesian-style central planning during wartime, as did all the other nations involved in the war, including ultra-capitalist America and Great Britain.

That being said, they were very hesitant to do this, not adopting a total command economy approach until late 1943, under the direction of Albert Speer. By then, though, the war was pretty much already lost, as they were being pushed out of Russia, due to the losses at Stalingrad, Kursk and Second Karkhov, the ultimate Allied victory in Tunesia and invasion of Sicily/Italy, not to mention decisive defeat of the U-Boats during the Battle of the Atlantic, allowing US forces to accumulate and concentrate in Britain for a cross-chanel invasion.

Hitler's reticence to adopt total state planning during the war until 1943, according to Speer, was done in deference to big business. He justified it on social grounds (refusal to have women work in industry, etc...), but this was not really the case.
Al Loomis---You seem to be confusing socialism with Keynesianism. There is more to socialism than having a managed, planned economy.
I amm looking at Mussolinni's autobiography, "My Rise and Fall."
I hope this puts to rest the common confusion among some of my readers who still think the Nazis and Fascists were phenomena of the Left. They were phenomena of the Right, backed by mobs of misled Petty Bourgeois morons, who did the bloody handiwork of their economic superiors. Anyway, here is Mussolinni's impression of Socialism. Clearly, he didn't conceive of himself, or of Fascism, as being anything remotely similar to socialism.

In his autobiography (which is quite interesting, actually, but gets little press, due to its being overshadowed by the other, less comprehensible book written by his northern Axis partner) the Duce is constantly attacking Marxists, Communists, Bolsheviks and Socialists.

Like Glenn Beck, he attacks the income tax as a socialist evil.

In regard to a tax on inheritance, he says:

"Giolitti himself hoped to be able to appease the Socialists with the project of general confiscation of war profits and still more with a plan to institute a strong tax on hereditary succession. This latter measure, wholly socialistic, whould have annihilated the family conception of a patrimonial line. It would have threatened the rights of an owner to bequeath to his heirs his riches with his name. It had condconsequences which were not only economic but also moral and social. Capital as an institution is only in its infancy; the right of disposal is necessary to foster the functioning and development of this instrument of ambition, of human welfare and civilization." (My Rise and Fall, Benito Mussolinni, p. 111(1928)).

I don't know about you, but the Duce's arguments against the taxation of large, hereditary estates doesn't seem very socialistic to me. In fact, it seems like he is trying to curry favor with Italy's aristocratic, and/or nascent manufacturing elite with these sentences, no? It seems like he wants to preserve, not tax large inheritences. That's not very socialist, is it?

In regard to whom fascism was supposed to serve:

"Amid the innoovations and experiments of the new Fascist civilization, there is one which is of interest to the whole world: it is the corporative organization of the state...Opposed to the directing middle class (which the Duce identifies as the big winners/supporters of Fascism), there was another class which I will call, for more easy reference, Proletarian. It was influenced by Socialists and anarchists, in an eternal and never-ending struggle with the directing class..."(Id. at 274)

"Every year there was a general strike; every year the fertile Po Valley, for instance, was subjected to recurring agitations which imperiled crops and all production. Opposed to that humane sense of harmony which should be a duty upon citizens of the same Fatherland, there was a chronic struggle of interests, egged on by the professional Socialists, the syndacalist organizers, a struggle against the middle class which, in tern, persisted in its position of negation and of expectation of a messiah. Civil Life did not move a decisivce step forward on the way toward betterment." (Id. at 274, discussing the rationale for annihilating the Italian Left)
Finally, let's not forget that it was Italian anarchists and Socialists (members of the Left) that captured Musolini, gunned him, his mistress and entourage down, and hanged them upside down from a bridge. To argue that Mussolini and the Fascists operate on the left wing of the Italian political scence is absurd in the extreme. Go to Italy and ask them. Even today, the Neo fascists are big time right-wingers. They are not on the leff.
The simple answer:

Fascism is the government in aid to capital

Socialism is the government in aid to citizens
@ Robert Young - eloquent reply.

And did you know Young played a Nazi in one of Hollywood's biggest anti-Nazi movies? He starred with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in 1940 in "The Mortal Storm," where Sullavan is engaged to Young, a Nazi sympathizer. The Nazis turn on them and when Stewart and Sullavan try to ski to Austria, she's shot but Stewart carries her across the border. Very melodramatic flick.
Excellent post and discussion. Thanks for this. The level of political discourse is so incredibly low nowadays that all contributions are welcome, particularly well-argued ones like this.

Re Hitler and "socialism": In many ways, Hitler was a "child of the revolution" of 1918, but as Black Jack Davy points out, the future Führer was an obsessive anti-communist, which should rule out any casual link between him and "socialism." Of course, his National Socialist movement was indeed an outgrowth of a general trend toward "socialism" after the collapse of 1918, when the Conservative Revolution adopted the rhetoric and organizational forms of the Left in order to put across a profoundly reactionary agenda (just as the originally left-wing Neocons in America adopted the trappings of the Right to satisfy their own will to power), i.e. the idea of "national socialism" had a certain context, but this merely clouds the issue in the American context. Socialism is clearly meant as an insult in this case. I imagine they'd say "Hitler and Obama both have cooties" if they could get away with it.

Rated.
Alan--thanks for the kind words. And by reactionary, you mean right-wing (for those of my readers who never took an advanced political science course), right?

Rob Young---eloquent and cogent. and true!

Stellaa--Thanks!!!!! 8)

Boomer and Poor women---these GOP guys are truly nuts.

Jack---I love you, but Stalin was an evil prick

Ms. Gravvitt--The Catholic Church was in a tight spot in WW2, since the Vatican was behind enemy lines, in the middle of Rome, which was Il Duce's capital. That being said, they could have done more. They did alot, but not enough. They weren't big supporters of the Nazis though. The Protestant Church in Northern Germany was much more indebted to the NSDAP. The Roman Church was seen as a threat, for much the same reason as the Chinese see it as one today: it is run by a foreign leader, namely, the Pope.

ONL: We should plan a low-budget, left-wing OS retreat to Iceland, just to see what its like. We can rent-out a youth hostel to save money and learn about cool stuff, like the aurora borealis. 8)
Tom Cordell---You are absolutely correct. But I think 50% of the blame for this sorry state of affairs rests with the Left. For some reason, we are not what we once were and are not getting through to these folks. We need to try harder to convert them. If Saul of Tarsus could become Paul anything is possible. Extremists go both ways.
Mr. Breschard---Thanks for reading it! 8)
You can state the facts, till the cows come home. The fact is the American populace is a nation of morons. To quote Hitler, " tell a lie long enough, and they will believe! "
Kenny---I have great faith in this country and her people, if only they are shown the truth. The great challenge is getting the horse to water. Once there, I am sure it will drink. The problem is, for the past 50 years, the democratic party has been led by equino-phobes
Excellent post. Thank you taking the time to explain in detail what Murdock and company are up too. People tend to forget who were in league with the Nazi's. Getting the US into the war was not as easy as many think!
Awesome post and conversation. I love learning stuff here. I understand fascism and where it stands on the left-right scale, and it has always been clear to me that Hitler was not socialist by any stretch of the imagination, but I did not know all the history discussed in this post and the comments that have followed it.

I want books on this subject, if anyone is willing to offer a list of readings.

I'm off to make sure this article has been posted to Digg and Reddit, and then I'll share it on my Facebook page as well.

Aaah, it feels good to be here today.
Love your bio too, ArDubya
Right Fucking On MotherFucker!

Finally, a post with some testosterone!

I find you right (hahahahaha) on every point.

For the average American, literally swimming in credulity, it is tough to accept the facts ... the Internet, Irish Bookies, and Wall Street check signers, are the only 3 groups you want to consult on, well, anything you want to be right about ... so, when Wikipedia is the first result on Google for well, everything, whereas Conservapedia isnt even known to anyone except pundits, mind slaves and idealogues looking for a hand out, well, sometimes, it really can be, the wisdom of the masses hahahahahaha ....
Hitler was a militarist/praetorian state builder.
Stalin was a socialist, who became something of a militarist praetorian state builder, "socialism in one country."
Both socialism and militarism share something, which is a mentality not consistent with bourgeois limited government by contract.
By the way, I liked the post.
The real difference to me it seems is path dependence.
In other words, when the bourgeois get to greedy, then social tensions increase.
If the peasants attack the bourgeois and put their heads on pikes, then the revolutionary elite leading the head-chopping can be called socialist.
Alternatively, if, like with Hitler, the Big Bourgeois decide to call in the Army, for whatever reason, often generated by the lunatic fringe of socialism like the Spartacists at the beginning of Weimar, then you get what we call fascism/militarism.
Note though, that so far the usual path of a socialist autocracy, and no, france is not socialist in that sense, and never has been except in the Commune in 1871, the natural path of socialism seems to be towards at least a soft fascism, like the KGB/FSB dictatorship of Putin, the role of the PLA in China at Tiananmen, and, the role of the KPA in North Korea, probably because there is a natural cycle to a point between ideas and institutions that are Bourgeois, Socialist, and Militarist. But interesting post for sure.
Leslie--read " A people's history of the United States," as well as "The Assasination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome." This will delineate the essential, need-to-know patterns of history, the scientific principles, if you will, according to which all history necessarily develops. Economics, while not wholly determinative, is, in fact, determinative in the "last instance," i.e., when all the other fluff is peeled away.

Thanks for your support!
Don Rich. Interesting ideas. However, I think you miss the fact that what many in the US call "socialism," in fact, is a bastardized, mongrelized, faux-socialism re-engineered by Lenin/Trotsky/Stalin/Mao for use in poor, backward, peasant, agricultural nations. This form of socialism really isn't socialism at all, although it is, for sure, informed to a degree by socialism. The examples of Russia and China just show us how easy it is for radical intellectuals (linked with workers and a sufficient number of soldiers) to overthrow any regime that lacks a strong middle class/bourgeois bulwark, due to insufficient, laggard, backward, uneven economic development. Its as if the power vacuum between the elite and the masses allows nutjob intellectuals of whatever persuasion to take over, often with disastrous results.

In the West, the real legacy of Marx resides with the various Social Democratic Parties of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy

These parties have played a large part in the rise of the modern European social welfare state. That being said, we also can't discount the strong possibility that, perhaps, the rise of the social welfare state was a bone thrown to the Left by the Establishment, in the style of Napoleon III and Bismarck, in an effort to co-opt the Left and triangulate Soviet Bolshevik influence.

Even LBJ said his great society was influence, less from a desire to help people, than from a desire to pre-empt radicalization of minorities and the poor. Many quotes regarding this.
"To say that Lenin, Stalin, Castro and Mao were fascists displays little understanding of the word."

Fine, they were extreme progressives. Liberals. They believed in equality, were against religion, were for spreading the wealth and against corporations and profit.
Snorville---I think they were megalomaniacs that were anti-democratic and fostered a cult-of-personality. They were also radical leftists, at least Mao was. Stalin was a-political. He would have joined any movement that allowed him to be a gangster. He was not an ideas man, but a muscle guy for Lenin.

Anyway, anybody with extreme ideas, on both sides of the spectrum, will do terrible things, if they are not reigned in by personal restraint, ethics, and a proper system of checks and balances and accountable elections that are wholly and totally transparent.

Its not ideology we need to change. Its the STRUCTURE of a system that allows this to happen. Even the most vanilla and moderate of ideologues can turn into a butcher. Look at Napoleon. He had no real ideology. But he still oppressed.
The use of the term Socialist and many other ideologies has been treated like cult terms that can be redefined at any time and often are. This is often done to distract people from the issues and get them to join the group being led by the leader without understanding what they are doing or why. This tactic also leads many people to disregard simple principles while they follow complex ideologies they don’t understand. In many cases the ideology in question is defined one way by those that follow it and another by those in power. This is the case with Socialism, Communism, Progressivism, Anarchy and many other ideologies. You could find a definition of Socialism to fit Hitler, it is a very vague term and allows for many interpretations, but it wouldn’t be the same one most reasonable Socialists believe in. This is done for all the wrong reasons and it is important to look at the details more than the name of the ideology.
ZT: very, very true!
"Racism and Antisemitism are the biggest taboos in Socialist theory. The idea, according to Marx and Proudhon, was that the elite use racism and anti-Semitism to divide and distract the poor, such that they cannot effectively organize in the advancement of their own economic interests."

Actually Proudhon was an anti-Semite. This is an excerpt from his notebooks:

"December 26, 1847: Jews. Write an article against this race that poisons everything by sticking its nose into everything without ever mixing with any other people. Demand its expulsion from France with the exception of those individuals married to French women. Abolish synagogues and not admit them to any employment. Finally, pursue the abolition of this religion. It’s not without cause that the Christians called them deicide. The Jew is the enemy of humankind. They must be sent back to Asia or be exterminated. By steel or by fire or by expulsion the Jew must disappear."

Source:
http://marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/proudhon/1847/jews.htm
I had never read this article of yours before. It is quite interesting.
Urban Guerilla: Proudhon was attacked by many on the Left for his ideas. While he developed some interesting theories, he was attacked relentlessly by Marx and many of his ideas were actually banned by Orthodox Marxists.

If anything, Proudhon's ideas, especially the focus on small shopkeepers and the lower-middle class, while they came out of socialism, eventually merged with far right wing nationalism, antisemitism, Catholic extremism and sowed the seeds for French Fascism on the radical right wing.

But some of his original writings are decidedly leftist, as well as some of his latter writings. He is a unique character. Good point though.

My point remains valid, though. He is an exception to the general rule.
"In psychology, this is called "shadow projection." As such, no right winger can properly be seen as a monster. ... We all need and require a realistic, functional external bogeyman to contrast our self-perceptions with, a shadow of our own inner self to keep our inner demons in-check. This is why shadow-projection is so dangerous, both to ourselves and to the targets of our aggression and/or projection."

This is interesting, because the phenonemon was also a component of Stalin's dictatorship. Back in the 1930s, the Stalinist press would incessantly accuse the Western companies of the most horrific of abuses, going all the way to cannibalism. In fact, just about every one of these sensational claims precisely reflected events in the Soviet Union itself. Stalin made "shadow projection" a principle of government. I'm afraid we're following suit - viz. our complaints against "rogue states" which, looked at objectively, behave no worse than we do.
Sadly, I found this article in Forbes, thus showing this form of right-wing shadow projection has gone mainstream.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2011/09/01/obama-hitler-and-exploding-the-biggest-lie-in-history/