More "Nazism is a Left Movement" Insanity

A rightwinger writes the following in the comments, arguing that Nazism, bizarrely enough, is a movement of the Left.

I have to disagree with you comment that the right wing and conservative movement being about smaller government is “just rhetoric.” If you look at the U.S. constitution, you can see that it is very much about enumerating, specifying and limiting the powers of the federal government while reserving power to the much smaller governments of the states and to the people.
The separation of powers in government to executive, legislative, and judicial branches that keep each other in check was specifically designed to prevent the kind of runaway government that exemplified Nazi Germany or the British Crown in the 1700’s. I fully agree with you that the U.S. government has not lived up to that ideal in many ways, but this government has hardly been in the hands of right-wingers or conservatives for the past half century.
Also, some bloggers claim that the fact that Nazis fought against other left wingers proves that they were not socialists. This argument has no more validity than saying that different denominations of Christianity fighting each other proves that any one of them wasn’t Christian. Within any belief system, you may well find factions fighting over who will be top dog.
The unbridled centralized power of the Nazi government to control the economy and corporations, while trampling on the rights of individuals and exterminating millions of people based upon race and religion is just an especially warped form of socialism. I maintain that one of the biggest lies of the twentieth century has been that Nazis were right wing. That kind of centralized government power is completely inconsistent with right wing ideology which strives to put strict limits on government. George Washington said it well: “Government is like fire – a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

There is a field called political science. They don’t agree with you. Nazism is considered by political scientists to be a movement of the far right, for what it’s worth. There is a recent movement by some lunatics, mostly in the US, to repackage Nazism as a movement of the Left. This movement is led by extreme rightwing loons like libertarians, extreme Chicago School neoliberals and the Austrians who follow Mises. Because the rightwing in the US is insane, it’s filtered down to the Republican Party as a whole. You would be hard-pressed to find a single respected political scientist anywhere on Earth who thinks Nazism is a Left movement.
It’s not. It’s not a Left movement. Not at all.
The founding fathers were actually liberals, progressives, and in some ways libertarians. A movement for limiting the extreme powers of government at that time was a very liberal movement. Back then, conservatives were all big government types. The rightwing in the US at the time, the Federalists under Hamilton, were big government types. They were monarchists, elitists who were anti-democratic. The rightwing has been opposed to democracy all over the world and at all times. Conservatism is a movement of elites, typically wealthy elites. Democracy is bad for business.
Your notion that the Right is about small government is ridiculous. Here in the US it tends to be, but they don’t even do very good on that score. Government is usually much more repressive under a US rightwing regime than under a left one. George Bush’s regime was one of the most dictatorial we have ever seen in the US. It was a radical rightwing regime.
Around the world, rightwing regimes have almost always been big government projects, at least in terms of the national security state. They are typically quite repressive too. The “small government” conservatism is pretty much a uniquely American phenomenon. Other than Thatcher’s Britain, show me one more rightwing government since WW2 that believed in or practiced “small government.” This is a fetish of US conservatism not shared by the Right of the rest of the world.
I have a hard time understanding why this “Nazism is a Left Movement” has got going. This is a recent thing. When the Nazis were in power, they were generally loved by the Right all over the world because they were some of the most badass anti-Communists that ever lived. After the war, former Nazis sought refuge in hard rightwing regimes in South America and joined with CIA groups and the rightwing governments of Taiwan and South Korea in fighting the Left all over the whole world. Post World War 2, many hard right dictators have lauded the Nazis as their heroes. No one on the Left has.
I suppose it is because we say that Nazism was a far rightwing movement. Well it was, and it is. Big deal. So the right is defensive about this because they don’t want to be associated with Nazis. It’s ridiculous. It’s as if every liberal had to renounce the Khmer Rouge and deny that they were a Left movement for fear of being tainted with them.
There have been plenty of nasty folks on the Left. The Khmer Rouge were mass murderers. Mao, Stalin, the North Koreans, the Vietnamese, Hoxha, Mengitsu – they all killed lots of people when they were in power. But the Nazis were not among the mass murderers of the Left. Those were the mass murderers of the Right. As if it matters though, really.

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16 thoughts on “More "Nazism is a Left Movement" Insanity”

  1. Hm. I think the argument is often that the far leftist government of the Weimar Republic allowed for the rise of fascism, a right wing movement, by weakening the somewhat conservative social mores which would otherwise have prevented it or something. And weakening the economy. I don’t really know the details, but yeah, Nazism sure isn’t left wing, but I think maybe the more intelligent ones are arguing that a certain amount of conservatism is necessary, for they equate it with decency and that far leftism can easily swing right into barbarism, as even some elements of rock’n’roll and the sixties started to look a little tribal and fascist at times.

    1. This argument definitely makes sense. The Far Left can indeed give rise to fascism and so can extreme licentiousness as we saw in the Weimar Republic which outraged conservative Germans and led to the reactive rise of Nazism. So, the Left leads to a rightwing Nazi reaction? Quite possibly, in some cases. Actually in quite a few cases! I would never consider that to be an argument against the Left though.

    2. What’s an example of fascist rock’n’roll? I know Bowie flirted with it in the 70s, though I’m not sure how serious he was.

      1. The Manson family is probably the big one. Generally, rock was pretty populist though. I just meant that it the freedom of the masses and the crowd and lack of morals could turn to excess and violence which could eventually transform to fascism.

  2. It sounds like he’s channeling Jonah Goldberg, Lucianne’s sprog and as good an example of nepotism and wingnut welfare as you’ll find.

    1. Ah, damn, I was about to bring in Jonah Goldberg! You’re too quick for me, Lafleur! 😉
      No, but really, Jonah Goldberg is about as neocon as they come.

  3. Far-right dictatorships and far-left dictatorships have much more in common with each other than they do with the average right-winger or left-winger.
    Comparison of mainstream political parties such as the Dems or Repubs to the Nazis is just ridiculous, and cheapens the suffering of those who actually lived under such dictatorships.
    Hitler invaded several countries and exterminated over 6 million people. Obama wants health coverage for the poor. Same thing, no?

    1. Both the left and right are guilty of these rhetorical comparisons.
      At least from a political perspective, the bigger issue is that these comparisons are cynical rhetorical tools used to smear the opponent and poison the well against any ideology.
      Sadly, it seems that most of American politics revolves around rhetoric and BS, as opposed to substantive issues.

      1. Yeah the rightwingers are calling us Nazis lately! WTF. They’ve always called us Communists. We are used to that. But now they call us Nazis! Damn.
        This is really tiresome. Both sides need to cut it out. Neither the US Right nor the US Left are Nazis.
        However! The White nationalists? Hmmmmm…yeah a lot of them are Nazis. Bastards.

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