Hitler and the socialist dream
Of course, there are many similarities between Stalinism (along with Maoism and other Marxist/Leninist variants) and Nazism: unwavering fealty by the citizenry to the apparatus of power, extensive central planning, ‘ends justifying the means’ taken to an extreme, and grave punishment exacted on those either deemed unworthy or disloyal to the state/cause. Hitler’s Germany had some degree of a mixed economy and its citizens had more personal autonomy than individuals under Marxism. Stalinsm was less nationalistic than Nazism because Stalin did not rule Russia. He ruled the Soviet Union – a country made up of 15 republics that all had different languages, histories and cultures. The main difference is that Nazism is predicated on racial ‘struggle’, whereas Communism is about class ‘struggle’. Besides the evocation of class struggle, another theme of Communism is the perfectibility of man through the force of the state – whether it be through a work camp, a reeducation camp, or state conservatorship. This is like original sin (a Religious Right concept) taken to an extreme, which is why the use of banal left/right labels on these extreme ideologies is unhelpful. To Communists, humans are born imperfect and only through the state can they be saved. Fascists, on the other hand, tend to believe some individuals by virtue of race are irredeemable by default and others are born superior. So there are major differences; it’s not like Hitler just slapped a Swastika on Das Kapital. The whipping boy of eugenics is predictably trotted out as reason for the Nazis being progressives, but the progressives of today want nothing to do with eugenics – they disavow it vehemently, to the extent of defaming public intellectuals that even intimate that some groups are smarter than others, let alone discuss eugenics. Again, this is why looking at Nazism and Stalinism though modern left/right labels is counterproductive, because liberalism as recently as 50 years ago bears less resemblance to liberalism today. Remember when the South voted solid Democratic? And Blacks were Republicans? It would seem like the sexual revolution is all about shielding the left from the consequences of their actions, foisting blame upon the patriarchy. The left wants readily available birth control because of a lack of self-control, but are outraged at the idea abortion can be used to reduce crime, as Steven Levitt and others propose.