Monday, June 08, 2015
A new denial that Hitler was a socialist
Tim Stanley is an historian so his denial that Hitler was a socialist is not the sheer ignorance that one usually encounters. The clue to his skepticism lies however early in his article. He says of Hitler: "He may well have been anticapitalist, but that does not necessarily mean that his concept of socialism sits within the Marxist tradition".
That sentence is very curious indeed. How could Hitler be anticapitalist and NOT be socialist? "Anticapitalist" and "socialist" are pretty near synonyms. (Yes. I know about Bismarck. That's another story and a fascinating one but I have written on that elsewhere -- e.g. here). But by the time we get to the end of the sentence we see what is going on. Stanley's Leftist background is showing. Like many academic Leftists, socialism is to Stanley synonymous with Marxism.
So Leftist leaders like Tony Blair are not socialists? Blair is certainly no Marxist but he was one of the most electorally successful leaders the British Labour party has had. So Stanley is saying only that Hitler is not a Marxist. But who would disagree with that? Hitler hated Bolshevism.
But some of the great hates in life stem from sibling rivalry and anybody who has spent much time talking to Leftists will know how much sibling rivalry there is among them. It is very common on the Left -- witness the icepick in the head that Trotsky got courtesy of Stalin. Very few of the old Bolsheviks lived for long after the revolution, in fact.
And Lenin was just as bad as Stalin. In a 1920 pamphlet you find a contempt for some of his fellow Leftists that is probably greater than anything he ever wrote about the Tsar. It is in describing his fellow revolutionaries (Kautsky and others) that Lenin spoke swingeingly of "the full depth of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests". But Leftism is founded on hate so such hate for fellow Leftists is no surprise.
So Stanley starts out on a very false footing.
Stanley's other objections to the view of Hitler as a socialist boil down to saying that Hitler was hypocritical. He said one thing to intimates and different things in public. But surely that just makes him a politician? He was one. He fought many elections. To judge any political figure by what they do in private is rather hilarious in fact. Fidel Castro surely has earned his stripes as a socialist but he lives the privileged and luxurious of the Hispanic grandee that he is. Tito was similar. Remember him?
I myself make no judgment about what Hitler really believed. As far as one can tell, it was a bit of a hodge-podge, though his antisemitism was probably heartfelt. Even his antisemitism was Leftist in his days, however. The founder of Germany's mainstream Leftist party, August Bebel, famously noted that "Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus des blöden Mannes" -- generally translated as "Antisemitism is the socialism of fools". Antisemitism was in other words very common among pre-war socialists. And Lenin himself alluded to the same phenomenon in saying that "it is not the Jews who are the enemies of the working people" but "the capitalists of all countries." He wanted class-war and saw antisemitism among his fellow Leftists as a distraction from that.
So what is of interest is surely not what Hitler believed in his heart of hearts but rather what he preached to the German public. What was his appeal? How did he campaign? What did he promise in his rise to power?
And there is no doubt about that. Perhaps the most amazing parallel between Hitler and the postwar Left is that for much of the 30s Hitler was actually something of a peacenik. I am putting up below a picture of a Nazi propaganda poster of the 1930s that you won't believe unless you are aware of how readily all Leftists preach one thing and do another. It reads "Mit Hitler gegen den Ruestungswahnsinn der Welt".
And what does that mean? It means "With Hitler against the armaments madness of the world". "Ruestung" could more precisely be translated as "military preparations" but "armaments" is a bit more idiomatic in English.
And how about the poster below? It would be from the March 5, 1933 election when Hitler had become Chancellor but Marshall Hindenburg was still President:
Translated, the poster reads: "The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights"
Can you get a more Leftist slogan than that? "Peace and equal rights"? Modern-day Leftists sometimes try to dismiss Hitler's socialism as something from his early days that he later outgrew. But when this poster was promulgated he was already Reichskanzler (Prime Minister) so it was far from early days.
We can all have our own views about what Hitler actually believed but he campaigned and gained power as a democratic Leftist. The March 5, 1933 election was the last really democratic election prewar Germany had and, in it, Hitler's appeal was Leftist.
There are more such election posters here
Stanley also makes the undoubtedly correct point that Hitler was a nationalist. Since "Nazi" is a German abbreviation of "National Socialist" that is no news. But can you be both a nationalist and a socialist? Hitler showed that you can be. But he was not original in that. Napoleon was too. And who was it who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country"? It was Pericles actually, but Democrat hero JFK recycled it -- JR
Little Yazidi children murdered by ISIS
Note that the Yazidis are not Arabs. They are an ancient Indo-European race, akin to modern-day Europeans
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, OBAMA STYLE
Retired US Lieutenant General David Deptula said recently, “The ultimate guidance (regarding air strikes in Iraq) rests with the black guy with his feet on the desk. Over three quarters of pilots leaving Gulf carriers are returning without dropping anything due to delays in decision-making up the chain of command in Obama's War council.”
Sources involved in the air war against ISIS said that, “Strike missions take on average just under an hour from a pilot requesting permission to strike an ISIS target to a weapon leaving the wing so by that time the insurgents have either vanished or we are out of fuel”.
After Obama had changed the rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan in 2011, immediately US combat troop deaths tripled.
Marines complained that they needed to watch through their night-vision goggles as shadowy green figures dug holes in the roadway. “On several occasions we opened fire but at some point, the order came down to ‘Stop shooting at night unless you can positively identify an insurgent’. We knew what they were doing ... burying IEDs for sure, but command instructed us that, ‘You can't be positive. They might be farmers.' It’s ridiculous”, they said.
Also under orders from the Obama Administration, a new military handbook was published for all U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East which contained a list of “taboo conversation topics”. It included:
* “Making derogatory comments about the Taliban.”
* “Advocating women’s rights.”
* “Any criticism of paedophilia.”
* “Mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct,” or
* “Anything related to Islam itself.”
Furthermore, Obama had noted in his handbook that, “The tripling in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against US forces was due to Western ignorance of Afghan culture”. Hmmm.
Obama’s revised ROE in Iraq has meant airstrike missions have dropped from a planned 800 per day to 14, through pilots’ inability to engage targets.
The pilot must first determine that no more than 10 per cent of any target would involve civilians and in no case no more than 30 civilians must be at risk at any time. If in any doubt, permission must be sought from higher up the line of command.
Only women can search women, even when a male is suspected of wearing a burkah. No night or surprise searches are allowed. Households have to be warned prior to searches. U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
If Iraqi soldiers are present US troops can fire at an insurgent if they see him planting an IED during the day, but not at night and not if insurgents are merely, “walking away from the area where the explosives have been laid”.
The recent fall of Ramadi was anticipated 12 months ago when US intelligence first detected a slow build-up of ISIS forces on the western perimeter, yet targeting of those forces using air strikes was not given clearance by US command.
The ISIS can peruse the revised Obama ROEs on the internet at any time, courtesy of Wikileaks, yet no changes appear to have been made to the rules. So mosques have become weapons caches, male suicide bombers dress in burkahs, ISIS militia will not open fire on US troops unless surrounded by civilians and, as long as they are not shooting at things, convoys of ISIS artillery can move freely on open roadways without fear of being shot at.
Can America sustain 18 more months of the Obama/Kerry twins, with the corrupt Clintons in the wings?
The Founders’ Model of Welfare Actually Reduced Poverty
Which approach to welfare policy is better for the poor: that of the Founders or that of today’s welfare state?
The more we spend on the poor, the harder it seems for them to attain decent, productive lives in loving families. The federal government has spent $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs since the beginning of the War on Poverty in 1965, but the poverty rate is nearly the same today as in 1969, fluctuating between roughly 11 and 15 percent over that time period.
As I argue in a new essay on “Poverty and Welfare in the American Founding,” these results are bound to continue unless we rethink welfare policy from the perspective of our Founders. Neither the contemporary left nor right in America properly understands their approach.
The left often claims the Founders were indifferent to the poor—suggesting that New Deal America ended callousness and indifference. Indeed, high school and college textbooks frequently espouse this narrative. Many on the right think the Founders advocated only for charitable donations as the means of poverty relief.
Neither is correct. America always has had laws providing for the poor. The real difference between the Founders’ welfare policies and today’s is over how, not whether, government should help those in need.
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed government has an obligation to help the poor. Both thought welfare policies should support children, the disabled, widows and others who could not work. But any aid policy, they insisted, would include work-requirements for the able-bodied.
Rather than making welfare a generational inheritance, Franklin thought it should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible: “I am for doing good to the poor.…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
Moreover, local, rather than federal, officials administered this welfare, since they were more likely to know the particular needs of recipients and could distinguish between the deserving poor (the disabled and involuntarily unemployed) and the undeserving poor (those capable of work but preferring not to).
The Founders sought to provide aid in a way that would help the deserving poor but minimize incentives for recipients to act irresponsibly. They wanted to protect the rights of taxpayers by preventing corruption and abuses in welfare aid.
Above all, the Founders saw the family and life-long marriage as the primary means of support for everyone, rich and poor alike.
By the mid-20th century, intellectual opinion began to peel away the stigma attached to the behavioral aspects of poverty, and progressive politicians increased the benefits and number of welfare recipients.
During the New Deal, despite major expansions of welfare programs, the Founders’ approach remained intact at least to this extent: These programs still distinguished between the deserving and undeserving poor—a distinction based on moral conduct.
Until the mid-1960s, free markets, secure property rights, strong family policy and minimal taxation and regulation supported a culture of work and entrepreneurship. But through the rise of modern liberalism’s redefinition of rights and justice, welfare was officially reconceived as a right that could be demanded by anyone in need, regardless of conduct or circumstances.
Among the most destructive features of the post-1965 welfare regime has been its unintentional dismantling of the family. By making welfare wages higher than working wages, the government essentially replaced fathers with a government check. The state became many families’ primary provider.
Even more perverse, for many single mothers, marrying a working man may actually be a financial burden rather than a support because the marriage can diminish government benefits.
Though modern welfare programs grant more benefits to a greater number of individuals than the Founders ever fathomed, the Founders’ approach to welfare policy was effective in providing for the minimal needs of the poor and dramatically reducing poverty over time. Based on today’s living standards, the poverty rate fell from something like 90 percent in the Founding era to 12 percent by 1969.
If the goal of welfare is to provide for those in need while respecting the rights of all, Americans would do well to ponder the Founders’ outlook on welfare as a limited system, concerned with helping the poor who truly are in need and encouraging those who are able to work to leave their poverty behind as soon as possible.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
Posted by JR at 12:35 AM