People often wonder what fascism is, what Nazism* is, what National Socialism* is, what socialism is, what Communism is, etc.
The problem is that few people know the answers to these questions. Even I do not, really, but I know more than most people. Truth is that most humans do not have the foggiest understandings of what any of these things are. Perhaps if you actually experience them, then you can begin to understand them.
In particular, the US Right in recent decades has decided to rewrite all prior political thought and marry Communism and Fascism, Socialism and National Socialism. It’s part of the Right’s war on the Left, but anyone serious about politics knows that fascism and National Socialism are on the Far Right wing of the political spectrum. All real fascists and national socialists know this very well; they have no illusions that they are a leftwing movement. The Left is their enemy; this is not controversial.
Even people who are quite intelligent and educated typically do not really understand what any of these things are, especially if they are on the US (non-fascist) Right. The US Right has so mangled and married all of these concepts in recent decades that it’s no wonder American Rightists are confused.
The Left is just as guilty. They are always screaming fascist and Nazi at many US Rightists and conservatives who surely are neither. So most people on the Left don’t know fascism or Nazism from a hole in the ground either.
I shock people when I say, matter of factly, that National Socialism can unfold in any society. Even with Jews. Jewish National Socialism is surely possible. Nazism was only the German version of National Socialism. National Socialism can be developed to the needs of any society and anti-Semitism is by no means a necessary or sufficient ingredient.
Jewish National Socialism would obviously not be anti-Semitic, and non-Jews could easily come up with a philo-Semitic and Jewish-allied National Socialism if they so wished.
So what is National Socialism then? It’s a form of fascism, a rather aberrant and unusual form of it. Perhaps it is best to try to understand it in an intuitive and female sense. Let us just read some National Socialist passages and try to glean a “gestalt” or “feel” of it, since it is so difficult to describe in words.
Here, from Faith and Action, a pamphlet from 1938 Germany:
You carry in your blood the holy inheritance of your fathers and forefathers. You do not know those who have vanished in endless ranks into the darkness of the past. But they all live in you and walk in your blood upon the earth that consumed them in battle and toil and in which their bodies have long decayed. Your blood is therefore something holy. In it your parents gave you not only a body, but your nature.
To deny your blood is to deny yourself. No one can change it. But each decides to grow the good that one has inherited and suppress the bad. Each is also given will and courage. You do not have only the right, but also the duty to pass your blood on to your children, for you are a member of the chain of generations that reaches from the past into eternity, and this link of the chain that you represent must do its part so that the chain is never broken.
But if your blood has traits that will make your children unhappy and burdens to the state, then you have the heroic duty to be the last. The blood is the carrier of life. You carry in it the secret of creation itself. Your blood is holy, for in it God’s will lives.
Our highest treasure is the soul that we have been given. He who mixes his blood with that of foreign inferior races ruins the blood and soul that have been given to him to pass on in purity to his children. He makes his children impure and miserable, and commits the greatest crime that he as a National Socialist can commit.
But he who follows the laws of race fulfills the great commandment that only like should be brought together with like, keeping apart those things like fire and water which do not mix.
We see ourselves as integral with a unitary world around us, which evolves according to natural law. In the simplest words: There is only one reality, which we call Nature: not the “my reality” and “your reality” of the subjectivists and not the separate spiritual and physical realms of the supernaturalists. We are a part of Nature and subject to Nature’s laws.
Within the scope of these laws we are able to determine our own destiny. If we err in our efforts there is no one to protect us from the consequences of our folly or our weakness. In other words, we ourselves are responsible for everything over which we have the power of choice: in particular, for the state of our environment and for the destiny of our race.
A people grows from god’s will. Woe to him who wishes to destroy the peoples and make people alike. God created the trees, the bushes, the weeds and the grass not so that they could merge into one species, but that each should exist in its own way. Just as a tree, a people grows as a living whole from similar roots, but becoming one, it becomes the strongest of its kind.
All of the same blood belong to it. A people knows no state boundaries. It is bound by the ties of blood that bind all the sons of a single mother. A people cannot be destroyed as long as its roots draw on the strength of the earth. Summer and winter may come and go. But it always blooms anew in indestructible life and perfects itself in the strength that rises from its roots towards god’s will.
What does it mean when an individual dies? It is as if the wind blows leaves from a tree. New ones grow eternally every spring. The peoples are the greatest and most noble creation of god on this earth. There is no institution in the world, no party and no church, that has the right to make them the same or to rob them of even the tiniest bit of their individuality.
Does that give you a bit of a “feel” for the ideology? If you use your imagination, you can see that this political philosophy could be adopted for any society.
It’s also highly appealing. The modern demonization of Nazism is not a bad idea, but it is not very honest. We have turned National Socialism into some caricature demonic philosophy that only a sicko Satanist deviate could support.
The truth is so much more frightening.
These ideas took Germany by storm, and whatever modern-day Germanophiles tell you, National Socialism had majority support in the land.
Not only that, but National Socialism was adopted to the needs of many surrounding countries that become allies of the German state. It was very popular in these nations too. Where it did not hold state power, it had the support of significant minorities, even in the USSR and in neutral states like Sweden. Overseas, it was popular in Latin America. What looks like a strange Japanese version swept Japanese society with a mad fervor.
Whether it’s evil or not, it’s very appealing to many humans, and its appeal is probably universal and eternal now that the ideas have been birthed. That’s why it’s so damned dangerous and why all serious anti-fascists ought to familiarize themselves with the Beast of Many Forms.
*I can’t stand either Fascism or National Socialism, but I admit I am fascinated by them the way mice are fascinated by cats. One of the ways I am fascinated by them is that I am still trying to understand them, and have been for years now.
- Stellrecht, Helmut. 1943. Glauben und Handeln. Ein Bekenntnis Der Jungen Nation. Berlin: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Eher Nachf.