Tag Archives: Hitler

Attempting to Understand the Alt-Right Part IV

In his post entitled “Inbred Liberals” the Traditionalist named Zippy argues that Nazism is a form of Liberalism and not (as is commonly conceived) a far right political movement. Specifically he states:

Nazis are through-and-through liberals in the sense that they are strongly committed to political liberty, which begets equality…

He supports this statement with a quotation from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf:

I had always hated the Parliament, but not as an institution in itself. Quite the contrary. As one who cherished ideals of political freedom I could not even imagine any other form of government. In the light of my attitude towards the House of Habsburg I should then have considered it a crime against liberty and reason to think of any kind of dictatorship as a possible form of government.

The National Socialist state knows no ‘classes,’ but politically speaking only citizens with absolutely equal rights and accordingly equal general duties, and, alongside of these, state subjects who in the political sense are absolutely without rights.

HitlerZippy has a pretty impressive and substantial blog where he articulates his political philosophy. What makes his blog impressive is that each post articulates a particular point within his philosophical structure and also links to other posts articulating other related points. Together these posts create a web of beliefs. At this point in my journey I have not read enough of his posts to form an opinion as to whether all these ideas fit together consistently in a comprehensive manner. My overall impression is that it seems both well thought out and based at least in part on scholarly research. I say at least in part because there is seemingly a great deal of his personal opinion in the mix.

For the purposes of this blog post I am interested to ascertain whether his ideas on Nazism and Liberalism hold up. To explore this argument I  read a number of his posts starting with the links he considerately provided me in the comment section of Part III of this series. Those links in turn led to other links. Specifically, what I was looking for was the logical process whereby Liberalism leads to Nazism in his way of thinking.

I found this path most clearly articulated in Zippy’s post entitled “Political freedom is a concentrator of government power,” wherein he argues,

… making freedom a political priority (that is, liberalism) inherently concentrates government power.

It does this because,

… the presumption in favor of individual freedom against [traditional aristocracy and patriarchy] creates an imperative for an ever more centralized government to override those authorities, in order to reduce constraints on individual freedom.

He then provides the example of,

… the increasing intervention of government in marriage, since the traditional authority of a husband does in fact constrain the equal freedom of wives.

This example is a microcosm of the Liberal macrocosm (argues Zippy) whereby the centralized government authority must interfere to protect individual liberty and equality against traditional power structures.

It is in this concentration of government authority (argues Zippy) that gives rise to the potential of the police state in order to protect the equal rights of the individual. Here I must emphasize that it is not my impression Zippy is arguing that Liberalism necessarily results in the extremes of Nazism (or Communism for that matter) rather that Nazism cannot result but for the existence of Liberalism.

Let us be clear however. To say that Liberalism creates Nazism is to imply (if not to make the outright declaration that) Liberalism creates the conditions for racial genocide. This is further to imply (if not to make the outright declaration that) Traditionalism somehow avoids this potential outcome. Otherwise why else make the comparison between Liberalism and Nazism?

Here are the reasons why I tend to doubt this line of thinking. I question whether the Nazism as described by Hitler in Mein Kampf is the same Nazism that actually existed under the Third Reich. True, the full citizens of the Third Reich may have theoretically enjoyed equal political rights under the law but can it really be said that they were free under the structures of the Nazi police state? And if the citizens of the Third Reich were not free can it be legitimately argued that Nazism is a form of Liberalism? I understand the counterargument would be that Liberalism created the environment for Nazism to develop but can it not also be argued that there is nothing to stop a Traditionalist form of government from committing similar acts of barbarism? The inquisition and the Crusades come to mind as easy examples of brutality that were committed by “Throne and Altar” conservative governments.

Again, it is not my purpose here to present a counter argument to conservatism. My purpose in this series of blog posts is simply to document my thought process as I explore conservative political philosophy. Accordingly, I welcome all non hostile comments which I intend to digest with as open a mind as I am able.

 

 

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Advice to the Next Blogger Stalked by Thordaddy

ScroogeEver since September of 2015 I have “enjoyed” a playful back and forth in the comment section of my blog with an individual who goes by the name of Thordaddy. Our conversation began after I wrote a comment to a post on another blog entitled “The Orthosphere” to which he apparently took offence. Soon after he started posting comments on almost every blog post I have made ever since. These comments sometimes number in the hundreds. I have run across other instances where he has harassed other bloggers in a similar fashion. Accordingly, I have no doubt that I will not be the last “flavor of the month” on his menu (so to speak). The following is intended to be a primer for the use of the next blogger he seeks to attach himself to. My hope is to pass on the wisdom I have obtained as to how to interact with Thordaddy once he sets he sets his sights on you.

Ask Questions

My first piece of advice is that you should always end your comment by asking a question. This will allow you to frame the debate and it will keep him perpetually on the defense. The idea here is partly to exhaust him by keeping your question in the back of his mind until he answers it. Because Thordaddy is both obsessive compulsive and shame-based he will always feel the need to respond because an unanswered question wounds his pride.

Asking questions also yields fruit beyond its strategic value. He has an interesting philosophy combining Christianity and racism. Some of his philosophy contains a logical consistency. Much of it, however, makes no sense at all. But the fact that it makes sense in his mind makes it is an interesting game to pull more and more information out of him. Because he lacks the ability to coherently and concisely articulate his philosophy the process of reconstructing it based on his utterances is akin to constructing a jigsaw puzzle.

He has a hard time believing that his convoluted (verging on schizophrenic) writing does not make sense to other people. Accordingly, he may lash out accusing you of willfully feigning ignorance. Do not let this throw you. Simply lob the ball back in his court by asking him why he feels this way.

One Point at a Time

If he makes several points in one comment or posts several comments in response to one of yours it is always better to pick one and respond to it rather than trying to respond to everything. The obvious advantage to this approach is that it makes the conversation easier to follow. One ancillary benefit to this method is the fact that he will ultimately expend more energy than you do and become more frustrated. Another benefit is that you are free to pick his weakest argument and attack that. Again, you always want to frame the debate and keep him on the defensive.

Demand He Define His Terms

Thordaddy employs a unique vocabulary where he takes common words and then redefines them to his liking. For example, he has redefined the word “perfection” to mean “objective supremacy” but refuses to explain what “objective supremacy” means. He then expects you to understand his redefinitions and when you become confused he will accuse you of feigning ignorance. Interestingly, he will consistently weasel out of all attempts on your part to get him to define his terms in any coherent way. As such, demanding him to define his terms is an effective way to keep him on the defensive. It is a trap he could easily escape if he only defined his terms but for some reason he does not want to which makes his whole philosophy suspect in my opinion.

Do Not Accept His Attempts to Label You

If you argue with Thordaddy he will attempt to label you as a liberal, radical autonomist, liberationist, anti-supremacist etc. Every week he seems to come up with a new label. This is his attempt to place you in a defined box and to put you on the defensive. But of course, his definitions are wildly suspect as discussed above. Do not accept his labels by turning the conversation around on him. Ask him what he means by these labels and get him to define his terms.

“Radical Autonomy”

One of his favorite labels is “Radical Autonomy” or “Radical Autonomist.” Much like all the other redefined words in his lexicon this one is also hard to pin down. As best I can tell, he believes this term to mean a breaking away from God or defying God’s will. Now Thordaddy claims to be a Christian. He further claims that Christianity demands one to be a racist despite all the scripture instructing the exact opposite. Interestingly, he will never cite scripture to buttress his arguments. Rather, he will only come up with convoluted arguments to weasel out of the scripture’s plain meaning. As far as I can tell, he is the only one who currently believes or has ever believed what he believes in the whole history of Christianity. He belongs to no community of faith and has admitted he is separated from his family. It seems to me this accusation of “radical autonomy” is merely a projection of his own shame onto other people. So always remember that he is all by himself and his mind is dominated by his ego. This is why he compares himself to others, judges others and hates other races despite his attempts to cloak his philosophy in Christianity.

Hitler

He always becomes a bit flustered when compared to Hitler. He denies any association or affinity for Hitler because he claims Hilter’s actions actually damaged the supremacy of the White Race. Accordingly to him, Hitler is an anti-white Supremacist. However, I suspect he would be just fine with Hitler if he had been successful in World War II. As such, I see this tact as Thordaddy trying to have it both ways. Regardless, playing the Hilter card can be effective to trip him up as he will always respond angrily calling you “stupid” or “pavlovian” etc. This response only displays how close to home this jab strikes him. All that being said, I would suggest only using this tactic sparingly to preserve its rhetorical power.

How to Win

There is no point trying to get Thordaddy to admit he is wrong. Such is the nature of all anonymous message board and comment section debates. Because he will never admit being wrong, the way you win is by getting him frustrated and by always getting in the last word. If you get the last word in and he does not respond (especially after making hundreds of previous comments) count this as a victory. Of course if you run your own blog you can always delete any comment he has posted. I have done this from time to time when he has babbled on nonsensically, repeated himself ad nauseam or was otherwise being offensive.

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Pondering Hitler’s Legacy

Pondering Hitler’s Legacy is republished with permission of Stratfor.

By George Friedman

Happenstance has brought me today to a house on the Austria-Germany border, just south of Salzburg. That puts me about 3 miles from the German town of Berchtesgaden, on the German side of the border. Adolf Hitler’s home, the Berghof, was just outside the town, on a mountain in the Bavarian Alps. To the extent that Hitler had a home, this was it, and it was the place where Hitler met with many notables, particularly before the war began.

As it happens, today is the 76th anniversary of the start of World War II in Europe. It is always a strange feeling to be here. There is a sense of history present here, but it is mostly a sense of the mind, since Berchtesgaden is an attractive but ordinary place. It always feels as if towns like this should have a patina of extraordinariness sticking to everything. But that isn’t how history works. There is a patina of mind, but not of place. On Sept. 1 of any year since 1939, and at a place like this, there is a sense of urgency to extract the real meaning of the man who lived in a house on the mountain I am looking at.

After 76 years, it seems appropriate to try to figure out what Hitler and the war he initiated genuinely changed in the world. This is not an easy question, because to arrive at an answer I had to dismiss from my mind the many acts of gratuitous evil that he committed. It is hard to dismiss those, but in a sense they left little legacy to the world except for the realization that civilization is a thin layer over humanity’s beastly savagery. But truly, we didn’t have to have Hitler to learn that. We humans have always sensed what is beneath our surface.

The question is how the world changed as a result of Hitler’s decision to invade Poland.

The Price for Europe

The first outcome, obviously, was that he destroyed Europe’s hegemony over much of the world and its influence over the rest. Within 15 years of the end of the war, Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands lost their empires. A handful of European nations had dominated the world. By the end of the war they had lost the will, the energy and the wealth to maintain their power. After half-hearted and doomed attempts to resist, these countries willingly participated in the dismantling of what they had once thought of as their birthright.

This changed the shape of the world, of course, but the change was less the result of the world’s resistance to Europe than a result of Europe’s exhaustion. After the war, Europe faced the task of rebuilding buildings. The ambition to rule had been exhausted. However flawed or wicked that ambition might have been, there is still something sad in the loss of all ambition, beyond the desire for comfort. The will to dominate, seen in its most extreme form in Hitler’s appetites, chills the blood. The loss of any transcendent ambition merely cools it. Europe has lost its recklessness, which is on the whole good. Yet it has gained an excessive caution that makes it difficult for Europe to make up its mind over matters small and large.

The world is certainly a better place without Hitler’s reckless imprudence. It is probably a better place without British or French imperialism, although when we look at what they left behind, we wonder if the wreckage of empire is worth the wreckage of the post-imperial world, whoever we blame for that wreckage.

Hitler clearly didn’t want this outcome. I think he was sincere when he said that he would leave the British Empire intact, along with its navy, if the United Kingdom accepted German domination of the European mainland. He wanted peace with the British so he could crush the Soviets. But the British as a nation could accept that deal only if they trusted Hitler’s promise. However sincere he was in 1940, Britain couldn’t bet on the endurance of his word. As a result, Hitler in due course committed suicide in Berlin, and Britain presided over the dissolution of its own empire — the only thing that would have disgusted both Churchill and Hitler. Churchill’s imperialism and Hitler’s racism met on that point.

There was another thing Hitler cost Europe: the metaphysical sensibility. It is startling, the extent to which Christian Europe has abandoned Christianity for secularism. Consider this map:



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The decline of church attendance is the outer husk of a European sensibility that, at the highest levels of thought, contemplated the deeper meanings of things. It was not Hitler who destroyed the European metaphysical sensibility. In many ways it destroyed itself from the inside, with a radical skepticism derived from the Enlightenment that turned on itself. But Hitler provided a coup de grace to that sensibility by appropriating figures like Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner to his own political ends, thereby delegitimizing not only them but also the tradition from which they emerged. Hitler, in his own strange wanderings in the depths, made such wanderings no longer respectable, and indeed, suspect. There is a saying I once heard: “German philosophers go down deeper, stay down longer and come up dirtier than any others.” I don’t know about philosophers, but Hitler, the would-be philosopher, certainly did, and it cost Europe the jewel of its intellectual heritage.

It is said that Napoleon called the English a nation of shopkeepers. He obviously meant that as an insult, seeing shopkeepers as people of limited imagination, ambition and wit. There is some truth to the saying about the English, although George Orwell was enraged at the trivialization of their achievements. To the extent to which the English were suspicious of the wholesomeness and usefulness of French and particularly German philosophy, Napoleon was right. But if he was, then Hitler achieved something extraordinary: He made all of Europe into nations of shopkeepers.

After the war, the obsession of Europeans was to live. Then it was to make a living. Napoleon’s insult was that there was more to life than simply making a living. What Hitler achieved was what he would have been appalled by: shopkeepers ruling Europe. But Europe is obsessed with making a living and suspicious of profound thinking. It has seen where that got it and it doesn’t intend to go there again. The best minds get MBAs. The broad public sleeps late on Sunday. The train wreck that Hitler made of Europe created a secularism not only in relation to Christianity, but in all attempts to recreate the depth of European culture.

The Power of the United States

Of course in all of this, perhaps the most important thing that Hitler did was unleash the United States, a country where earning a living is the definition of life. Hitler believed that his defeat meant the triumph of Bolshevism. It really meant the triumph of the United States and its culture, which it distributed in Western Europe through occupation and in the Soviet bloc through imitation.

The United States redefined European culture. As I have written in Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, it was not Coca-Cola but the computer that was the carrier of American culture. The computer had nothing to do with metaphysics or with the true or beautiful. It had to do with the narrowest form of instrumental reason: It simply got things done, and in doing so, it justified its existence. The computer dominated the world — and Europe — and with it came a mode of thinking, contained in programming, that was so radically different from what European culture consisted of as to almost be from another planet. Of course, Europeans helped found the culture, but they bequeathed it to their heir, the United States. Paradoxically, the United States remains the most religious of countries, with church attendance at its height. Religiosity and instrumental reason are compatible in the United States — a point to ponder.

Hitler respected Josef Stalin. He understood the radical ideologue who was ready to kill. He had little respect for the United States. He understood Stalin, but he couldn’t fathom Roosevelt. But as I sit here looking toward Berchtesgaden, I must recall that it was the 7th Infantry Regiment of the Third Division, U.S. Army, that captured the town and Hitler’s home. The Americans occupied the area until 1995, using it for military purposes.

This was the most important thing Hitler achieved, and the last thing he expected. Hitler drew the Americans into the heart of Europe and left the Europeans completely vulnerable to the emerging, and quite strange, modes of thought that a nation that holds shopkeepers in great regard can produce. Hitler destroyed the dams that Europe had built around itself. He crippled all of Europe, including the Soviet Union. He could not imagine the need to cripple the Americans, nor could he have had realized the need. And therefore, in the end, they rebuilt Berchtesgaden and I am sitting here looking at it.

Hitler will be remembered not only for great evil but also — and more important, in many ways — for the manner in which almost all of the consequences of his war were unexpected.

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